Rewarding coffee farmers for agroforestry while reducing the carbon footprint of the coffee industry

A new joint project involving satellite imagery of coffee lands is designed to financially reward coffee farmers for maintaining agroforestry systems while reducing the carbon footprint of the coffee industry.

The two Dutch companies combining for the partnership are the coffee-sector-focused social impact startup Carble and satellite solutions provider Satelligence.

Initially, the joint project is expected to cover a range of 200-600 smallholder coffee farms — each spanning three hectares or less — in Ethiopia’s Guji Zone, near the town of Shakisso.

In short, Satelligence apply its algorithms to updated satellite data to calculate the approximate amount of carbon stored in the existing biomass of agroforestry farms — i.e., farms that have integrated trees, shrubs and forests rather than monocrop coffee cover.

Participating coffee buyers can then include these verified emissions reductions in their non-financial accounting disclosures, while providing farmers premiums based on the carbon storage calculations.

Satellite imagery is used to calculate biomass on coffee farms.