As the second most demanded commodity in the world after oil, coffee is a big deal and an essential part of daily life for many people around the world. In the U.S. alone, over half of American adults drink at least one cup of coffee every day. In over 50 countries, some 20 million farmers spend their days hard at work cultivating and processing coffee. As October 1 is International Coffee Day, we pause to appreciate our projects’ efforts to bring us our daily cup of energy and inspiration while empowering the smallholder farmers involved in coffee production.

In Colombia, through our USAID-funded Afro-Colombian Indigenous Program, we support indigenous coffee growers use organic farming practices, reach new markets, and increase productivity and profitability. Read an article from last year on the topic here.

In the Philippines, through MinPACT, the USDA-funded Mindanao Productivity in Agricultural Commerce and Trade project, we’re improving the competitiveness of the coffee value chain by strengthening local capacity through farmer field schools, supporting the expanded use of improved agricultural inputs, and encouraging the use of financial products and mobile technology among farmers to access market information.

Though the USAID-funded Feed the Future Agricultural Growth Program-Agribusiness and Market Development (AGP-AMDe) activity closed late last year, it made significant strides supporting the coffee value chain, one of six it targeted in Ethiopia. In November 2015, it helped the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) launch a coffee traceability system that will ensure the quality, consistency, and safety of Ethiopian coffee, boosting exports. The traceability system will affect some five million smallholder coffee farmers. Read more about coffee traceability in Ethiopia here.

Globally, we support the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI)’s Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE). This initiative seeks to strengthen the coffee value chain by empowering women. Last fall, CQI released the findings of the first stage of research related to the role of women in coffee production. Entitled “The Way Forward: Gender Equity in Coffee Value Chains,” the report provides eight recommendations to boost gender equity in coffee, a significant topic as women farmers and female farm workers constitute some 43 percent of the coffee production workforce but do not typically receive a return on their efforts, which have been traditionally underappreciated.

ACDI/VOCA is proud to implement these projects and partner with other organizations to increase the productivity and profitability of the coffee sector to benefit all those involved, a lot to think about over your next cup of coffee.