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Planning for Adaptation: A System Approach to Understand the Value Chain's Role in Supporting Smallholder Coffee Farmers' Adaptive Capacity in Peru

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Coffee is a major global commodity whose production is sustained by and provides livelihoods for millions of smallholder families in the tropics. However, it is highly sensitive to climate change and the climate risk family farmer's face from direct impacts on coffee production are often compounded by further impacts on the physical and social landscapes and infrastructure. We examine the vulnerability (sensitivity and adaptive capacity) of smallholder coffee farmers in northeastern Peru via the lens of their central participation in a value chain that mediates access to livelihood assets, affecting their adaptive capacity and aspects of their sensitivity. Using a staged and participatory, mixed-methods approach, we sought to understand the territorial climate exposure, the structure of the regional value chain and role of different actors in supporting farmer adaptive capacity, and assess the vulnerability of the entire value chain (including other actors in addition to farmers). We found heterogeneity not only in the potential impact of climate change on coffee production, future adaptation needs and vulnerability of farmers across the territory (among elevational zones and regions), but in the distribution of vulnerability among value chain actors. Farmers are the most vulnerable actors, simultaneously the most sensitive and with the lowest adaptive capacity, issues stemming from their strong territorial dependence and pre-existing social and economic asymmetries with actors in the coffee value chain who are not as territorially dependent (e.g., private companies). We make the case that supporting the adaptation of smallholder farmers in the study region requires moving beyond a value-chain approach to a territorial systems perspective that more intentionally involves those actors with stronger, locally vested interests (e.g., local governments and institutions) in their adaptation and requires the strengthening capacities of these actors in various areas.
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ORIGINAL RESEARCH
published: 15 April 2022
doi: 10.3389/fclim.2022.788369
Frontiers in Climate | www.frontiersin.org 1April 2022 | Volume 4 | Article 788369
Edited by:
Ingrid Oborn,
Swedish University of Agricultural
Sciences, Sweden
Reviewed by:
Anshuman Singh,
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
(ICAR), India
Xiomara Quinones,
University of Natural Resources and
Life Sciences Vienna, Austria
*Correspondence:
Laura V. Morales
l.morales@cgiar.org
These authors have contributed
equally to this work
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Climate Risk Management,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Climate
Received: 02 October 2021
Accepted: 23 March 2022
Published: 15 April 2022
Citation:
Morales LV, Robiglio V, Baca M,
Bunn C and Reyes M (2022) Planning
for Adaptation: A System Approach to
Understand the Value Chain’s Role in
Supporting Smallholder Coffee
Farmers’ Adaptive Capacity in Peru.
Front. Clim. 4:788369.
doi: 10.3389/fclim.2022.788369
Planning for Adaptation: A System
Approach to Understand the Value
Chain’s Role in Supporting
Smallholder Coffee Farmers’
Adaptive Capacity in Peru
Laura V. Morales 1
*, Valentina Robiglio 1†, María Baca 1† , Christian Bunn 2and
Martin Reyes 1
1World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Lima, Peru, 2International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia
Coffee is a major global commodity whose production is sustained by and provides
livelihoods for millions of smallholder families in the tropics. However, it is highly sensitive
to climate change and the climate risk family farmer’s face from direct impacts on
coffee production are often compounded by further impacts on the physical and
social landscapes and infrastructure. We examine the vulnerability (sensitivity and
adaptive capacity) of smallholder coffee farmers in northeastern Peru via the lens of
their central participation in a value chain that mediates access to livelihood assets,
affecting their adaptive capacity and aspects of their sensitivity. Using a staged and
participatory, mixed-methods approach, we sought to understand the territorial climate
exposure, the structure of the regional value chain and role of different actors in
supporting farmer adaptive capacity, and assess the vulnerability of the entire value
chain (including other actors in addition to farmers). We found heterogeneity not only
in the potential impact of climate change on coffee production, future adaptation needs
and vulnerability of farmers across the territory (among elevational zones and regions),
but in the distribution of vulnerability among value chain actors. Farmers are the most
vulnerable actors, simultaneously the most sensitive and with the lowest adaptive
capacity, issues stemming from their strong territorial dependence and pre-existing
social and economic asymmetries with actors in the coffee value chain who are not as
territorially dependent (e.g., private companies). We make the case that supporting the
adaptation of smallholder farmers in the study region requires moving beyond a value-
chain approach to a territorial systems perspective that more intentionally involves those
actors with stronger, locally vested interests (e.g., local governments and institutions)
in their adaptation and requires the strengthening capacities of these actors in
various areas.
Keywords: sensitivity, vulnerability, climate change, Coffea arabica, adaptation trajectory, Sustainable Livelihoods
Framework, value chain, distribution modeling
Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
INTRODUCTION
Produced in more than 70 countries worldwide, coffee is one of
the most valuable globally traded agricultural products. It plays a
vital role in Latin America, which accounts for over half of global
green coffee production and has an important share of global
land cultivated with coffee (5,068,746 Ha, 45% of total) (FAO,
2021). This region is particularly dominant in the market of high
cup quality varieties, producing the large majority (82%) of the
world’s Arabica coffee (United States Department of Agriculture,
2021), produced by varieties of Coffea arabica, a species that
prefers higher elevations with cool temperatures and more than
1,200 mm of annual rainfall (DaMatta and Ramalho, 2006).
Globally, coffee is predominantly a family farmer’s crop,
produced by an estimated 12.5–25 million farms, of which 70–
80% are smallholder households (Browning, 2018; International
Coffee Organization, 2019; Panhuysen and Pierrot, 2020). As an
international commodity managed by smallholders in landscapes
of strategic relevance for biodiversity and ecosystems services
provision (Jha et al., 2011, 2014), coffee production is at the center
of multiple social, economic and environmental controversies
mostly related to the vulnerability of the farmers (Gresser and
Tickell, 2003; Rice, 2003; Jha et al., 2011; Guido et al., 2020;
Panhuysen and Pierrot, 2020).
There are several drivers of coffee farmers’ vulnerability.
Price variability is caused by the complex balance between
global demand and supply in relation to overproduction in
a value chain regulated largely by “buyers” (i.e., brands and
transnational companies responsible for export/import, roasting,
and distribution), who capture the largest share of the value
(Gresser and Tickell, 2003; Rice, 2003). Farmers, as the base
producers, have a weak margin for negotiation and risk
management as profitability in the short term is highly variable,
with shifts in time and space that depend on the interplay
of conditions in production territories with global value chain
factors, whereas companies can manage their risks by accessing
global markets, giving a substantial stability to the global value
chain. Over the last few decades market-related risk has been
exacerbated by risk generated by the impact of climate change, to
which high-value, quality Arabica production is highly sensitive
(Guido et al., 2020; Rhiney et al., 2021).
Impacts include rises in minimum growing temperatures and
changes in rainfall patterns that directly affect yields and cup
quality and consequently, competitiveness of local production.
Direct impact combines with the indirect effects of change
on yield due to outbreaks of pests and diseases favored by
warmer temperatures, as is the case for coffee leaf rust (Hemileia
vastatrix) and coffee berry borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampei)
(Pham et al., 2019). Further impacts in production territories
includes degradation of natural capital due to landslides, erosion,
and floods, including damage to infrastructure (Läderach et al.,
2013). In territories highly dependent on coffee production,
consequences can be dramatic (Harvey et al., 2021). Combined
effects have major adverse consequences on livelihoods including
food insecurity and malnutrition of farmers’ families and
unemployment of seasonal labor, with possible further effects
on outmigration and land-use change due to abandonment and
other social conflicts (Pham et al., 2019; Avelino and Anzueto,
2020; Harvey et al., 2021) that may result in decreases of
areas currently under coffee production. Decline is not the
only projected trend. In Andean Amazon countries, changing
climate generates favorable conditions for high quality Arabica
varieties in upper montane forest areas where expansion is
favored by soil conditions and reduced pest and disease loads
typical of deforestation frontiers (Ruf and Schroth, 2004).
Tradeoffs include negative outcomes for biodiversity (Magrach
and Ghazoul, 2015) and ecosystems service provision, affecting
the resilience of coffee production landscapes and livelihoods.
All of these factors create an urgent need to plan for climate
change adaptation both for the coffee sector and Latin American
coffee landscapes, however, there is very limited information
on the potential magnitude of change and its impact (Harvey
et al., 2021). This study takes the case of the Andean-Amazonian
landscapes of Peru to assess how the value chain can contribute to
the capacity of coffee farmers to adapt to climate change. Despite
Peru’s ranking in global markets, high climate change exposure,
and potential socio-ecological and livelihood impacts, studies
focusing on the impact of climate change on the Peruvian coffee
sector are lacking. Peru’s production volumes in 2020–2021 place
it as the 9th coffee producing country (4th among Arabica
producers) (United States Department of Agriculture, 2021) and
coffee is a crucial economic sector for the country. Accounting
for up to 30% of the market share, it is the main agricultural
export and a source of employment for over 2 million people,
with about 220,000 families of smallholder farmers (manage <
5 hectares, often solely with family labor) distributed across the
upper slopes of Amazonian watersheds (Robiglio et al., 2015,
2017; Harvey et al., 2021). Given the large proportion of coffee
farmers in the rural population of some districts (as much as 90%)
(Robiglio et al., 2015), the sustainability of coffee production
in these territories is strategic for the delicate socio-ecological
and economic balance between pressure on biodiversity and
ecosystem service provision and livelihoods. By 2050, climate
change is predicted to result in little loss but substantial
changes in the spatial distribution of suitable areas for Arabica
coffee production in Peru (Ovalle-Rivera et al., 2015) which,
together with existing socioeconomic and governance factors
that limit the country’s overall adaptive capacity and increase
its susceptibility to climate change (i.e., high poverty rates and
economic inequality, deficient infrastructure, weak institutional
or cross/sectorial coordination, incipient capacity building)
(MINAM, 2016; Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, 2022),
place Peru and its coffee regions in a vulnerable position.
Here we focused on understanding the vulnerability of
the coffee value chain in northeastern Peru to future climate
change and how this affects its capacity to support smallholder
farmer adaptation. We adopted a mixed-method, participatory
approach centered on farmers and the coffee value chain,
understanding the latter as a network of components and
functions that mediate the adaptive capacity of the farmer
by mediating the access to assets. We analyzed the path of
change required from within and outside the value chain to
support farmers’ adaptation process and assessed the capacity
of value-chain actors to do so under different scenarios of
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
change, including adaptation and transformation (Rickards
and Howden, 2012; Vermeulen et al., 2013). Our analytical
framework builds on the approach to livelihood capitals and
capabilities in rural development which considers household
assets and endowments (typically natural, human, social, physical
and financial) mediated by contextual factors including socio-
institutional and environmental processes (Bebbington, 1999;
Scoones, 2009; Reed et al., 2013) as the basis for farmers to:
(1) participate in and benefit from their integration into a value
chain (Stoian et al., 2012) and (2) respond to sustainability and
environmental goals, including the adaptive capacity to cope
with climate change (Rickards and Howden, 2012; Reed et al.,
2013).This assets-based framework helps identify what capital
can be used for adaptation. In the case of climate change, it admits
that different actors may be affected differently and may have
different capacities to adapt depending on the asset affected by
the change. In the context of a value chain, this impacts the ability
of different actors to interact and fulfill their function in the chain
and thus, mediate farmers’ access to the resources needed to cope
and adapt.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We employed a staged, mixed-methods approach to
understanding value chain vulnerability (Figure 1). Because
coffee production and its value chain involve different spatial and
institutional scales across a territory, we collected and interpreted
information from different geographic scales. Broadly, we aimed
to: (1) assess the current and future territorial distribution of
climate change exposure and impact on local coffee production
and define the adaptation levels required for smallholder farmers
to successfully adapt to expected conditions, (2) assess the
sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the value chain by evaluating
these attributes for each of the primary actors in the value chain,
including smallholder farmers, (3) evaluate the vulnerability
of the local coffee value chain and identify opportunities for
decreasing it across the existing actors and their interactions.
We developed agroclimatic suitability models for the coffee
crop to understand future exposure of primary production
to climate risk and employed focus groups, workshops, rapid
rural appraisal techniques and interviews with experts, farmers
and other actors to map the current value-chain, understand
perceptions of current climate change impacts on production,
and evaluate sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
Study Region
We worked within three growing regions in northeastern Peru
(Amazonas, Cajamarca, San Martin) which encompassed 50%
of the total area under coffee cultivation (387,421 ha) and 59% of
all national coffee production (281,000 tons) in 2016 (MINAGRI,
2018) (Figure 2). For our fieldwork, we selected three districts,
one within each region: Lonya Grande (Amazonas), San Ignacio
(Cajamarca), and Moyobamba (San Martin). These districts were
chosen based on criteria defined during an initial workshop with
national coffee-sector experts: having high coffee production and
cultivated land area, perceived experiences of current climate
change impacts, and presence of different levels of projected
future impact within districts based on our climate models.
Coffee is cultivated between 500 and 2,500 m.a.sl. along the
Amazonian slopes of the Andes and is the main perennial crop
in all three regions (CENAGRO, 2012), but the regions differ
in their total surface area, topography, and production volumes.
San Martin is the largest (5,251,483 ha) and has the greatest area
under coffee (87,200 ha), accounting for 29% of all production
in 2016. Amazonas (3,967,506 ha) and Cajamarca (3,317,500
ha) each had 53,250 and 53,000 ha planted with coffee and
produced 12.4 and 17.5% of all coffee in 2016 (MINAGRI,
2018). San Martin has only 25% of its land area at elevations
>1,000 m.a.s.l, while Amazonas and Cajamarca have 45 and
80%, respectively (Figure 2).
In all three regions, coffee farmers are a large part of the rural
population (Proportion of Farmers Planting Coffee: Amazonas
40%, Cajamarca 43 and San Martin 50%) (Robiglio et al., 2017).
Most tend to be small-holders farming <10 ha and many lack
formal land titles. As with many areas of coffee cultivation in Peru
(Díaz Vargas and Carmen Willems, 2017), rural poverty rates
are high in the focal study districts (Lonya Grande: 39–49%; San
Ignacio: 54–62%, Moyobamba: 23–29%) (INEI, 2018).
Climate Change Exposure, Impact and
Adaptation Gradient Mapping
We developed a map of adaptation pathways required to
face projected climate change in our study region using
the same approach previously used to develop adaptation
recommendation domains for Ghanian cocoa production by
Bunn et al. (2019). This approach involved: (1) the generation
of multi-class agroecological suitability models for coffee
production in the study region based on locations of current
coffee production in Peru, (2) validation of the resulting
agroecological zones (AEZ) and suitability maps with expert
knowledge of climate and coffee production zones in Peru
during national and regional workshops, (3) the prediction of
the future spatial distribution of suitable agroecological zones
for coffee production according to climate change projections
for 2030, and (4) the determination of required adaptation levels
based on the changes between the current and future spatial
distributions of suitable coffee growing zones. Full detail of
the AEZ modeling methodology and climate projections can be
found in Appendix 1.
Required adaptation levels were defined based on observed
differences between the current agroecological zonation and
future expected zonation of map pixels, employing the adaptation
recommendation framework of Bunn et al. (2019). An adaptation
gradient requiring increasing levels of adjustment efforts was
assigned to areas currently suitable for coffee production
depending on the degree of exposure to changed climatic
conditions in 2030 (Figure 3). Where a suitable area was not
projected to change in climatic zone and thus require little
to minor gradual changes, it was assigned to “incremental
adjustment”. Areas expected to remain suitable but shift between
AEZs were assigned to “systemic adjustment”. Areas where
there is high uncertainty as to the climate suitability in the
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 1 | Workflow of methodology used to evaluate the vulnerability of the coffee value chain in northeast Peru to future climate change.
future were assigned to “systemic resilience building”. Finally,
areas likely to become unsuitable for coffee cultivation were
assigned to “transformation.” Additionally, unsuitable zones
likely to become suitable for cultivation were classified as
“opportunity” zones.
The four main adaptation zones capture an increasing scale
and scope of efforts required for farmers and local value
chain actors to adapt to expected climate shifts, ranging from
small adjustments to transitioning away from dependence on
coffee production. Incremental adjustment zones are expected to
require minor gradual adjustments to respond to normal climate
variability, while systemic adjustment areas will require greater
changes in local agronomic practices to adapt to new conditions
for coffee production (e.g., introduction of new varieties or
technology, modifying the design and management of systems,
and compatible integration of new products). Systemic resilience
building zones, on the other hand, must hedge bets and be
prepared to face the possibility of suitability loss by making
substantial adjustments aiming to increase the general resilience
of the socio-ecological system, as well as changes to household
production strategies away from high reliance on coffee in order
to create or maintain future options. Transformation zones will
require extensive changes to transition entire production systems
and value chains away from the coffee economy into other
productive strategies. Opportunity zones are areas where coffee
cultivation may become a productive option for farmers, barring
unfavorable natural or social conditions for this land use.
Value Chain Mapping, Sensibility and
Adaptation Capacity Evaluation
A participatory approach engaging all key groups of actors
involved with the coffee value chain was used to generate
information about the local value chain and the sensitivity
to and adaptation capacity for climate change of different
groups. This information was gathered in two stages: (1) an
exploratory stage using open-ended methods to get descriptive
data about the study region, the value chain, farmer perceptions
of current climate change impacts and validate indicators and
methodologies; (2) a structured interview stage for indicator-
based sensitivity and adaptive capacity evaluation. The first stage
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 2 | Study area in Northeastern Peru. (A) Geographic and topographic distribution of validated coffee cultivation occurrences in 2016. (B) Total area
dedicated to coffee production by regional district. The three focal study districts where interviews were conducted with farmers, cooperatives and institutions are
shown by arrows (Lonya Grande- Amazonas; San Ignacio-Cajamarca; Moyobamba-San Martin).
employed 4 participatory workshops of coffee experts (1 national
workshop in Lima and 3 regional workshops), each with 8–
12 participants, and open-ended interviews and visits with 1–
3 participants per focal region in 5 actor classes (smallholder
farmers, cooperative/associations, private companies, service
providers, government/agency representatives). The second
stage comprised of semi-structured interviews/surveys with 84
smallholder farmers, 14 agricultural cooperatives/associations,
3 private companies and 12 regional government/agency
representatives. All fieldwork was conducted between June and
November of 2016.
Value Chain Mapping
Participants in workshops and initial interviews participated in
presentations and discussions or individual instruction about
various concepts involved in this study, including value chains.
They then illustrated their understanding of the coffee value
chain, identifying key actors, roles, and interactions in groups
or individually, generating tables or pictorial representations
of these. We used these products and extra information from
participants to construct a unified conceptual model of the
coffee value chain in the study area including actors, roles, and
key interactions.
Sensitivity and Adaptation Capacity Evaluation
Indicators of sensitivity to climate change and adaptive capacity
were developed in conjunction with workshop experts and
participants in open-ended interviews. This approach was
analogous to that previously applied to assess vulnerability of
smallholder coffee farmers in Central America (Baca et al., 2014),
but extended this process to indicators for other value chain
actor groups. For this study we defined sensitivity as the direct
and indirect effects of climate change on coffee production and
other resources necessary for production for each value chain
actor. Adaptive capacity of individual actors was defined as their
ability to cope with, adapt and transform to meet production
and livelihood challenges brought by climate change and within
the value chain context, their ability to sustain or increase the
flow of services and resources to allow for other actors to adapt
as well. After receiving training on concepts of sensitivity and
adaptive capacity, as well as being presented with an initial
list of potential indicators suggested in the literature, groups
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 3 | Scheme of gradient of necessary adaptation effort required by increasing degree of climate change. Top: Expected changes in suitability for crop
production from climate suitability models (top row) are matched with recommended level of adaptation along the gradient (bottom row), taking into account
uncertainty around the expected trajectory. See Section Climate Change Exposure, Impact and Adaptation Gradient Mapping for further details about how these
ideas are used to generate adaptation zone maps. Adapted from: Rickards and Howden (2012).
of workshop participants brainstormed a list of key factors for
coffee production and marketing in the study region, ranking
them according to their relative importance and relationship to
climate change. Additionally, they suggested metrics for each
indicator. This process was done considering key factors that
applied to each group of key actors identified in their value chain
descriptions. All lists were then consolidated to generate a list
of key sensitivity and adaptive capacity indicators and organized
according to the five capital categories of the Sustainable
Livelihoods Framework (DFID, 1999). This was done for each
following actor groupings: (1) farmers, (2) intermediaries and
companies (individuals, cooperatives, private businesses), (3)
service providers (suppliers, service providers, public agencies,
institutions). For the latter group, chosen indicators focused
more on the ability to support farmers in adaptation processes
rather than their own adaptive capacity.
This master list of indicators was validated using 19 open-
ended interviews with actors in the study region. Adjustments
were made and a final list of indicators was selected, from which
a semi-structured interview was developed to collect information
for quantitative evaluation of sensitivity and adaptive capacity. In
each regional district, we interviewed 24–30 smallholder farmers.
Because the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of smallholders is
closely associated with, and affected by, their farm’s location and
our exploratory work suggested differences in hazard exposure
and climate impacts according to three general elevational
zones (Low: 1,200 m.a.s.l.; Middle: 1,200–1,600 m.a.s.l.; High:
1,600 m.a.s.l.), we stratified our interview sample in each
region by these zones, randomly sampling 6–10 farmers per
zone. Because other actors participate in the coffee value
chain at regional and national scales, they were selected at
regional scales. A notable exception were the semi-structured
interviews with private companies. We were unable to secure
sufficient interviews with local or regional headquarters of private
companies and instead interviewed national representatives of
parent companies.
After data collection, information from interviews was
analyzed qualitatively and quantitively, in the case of semi-
structured interviews with farmers and cooperatives. Content
analysis of interview recordings, notes and input matrices
was used to summarize information on climate change
perceptions and other contextual information about value-
chain actor interactions, sensitivity to climate and adaptive
capacity. Indicators gathered in the semi-structured interviews
with farmers and cooperatives were scored on a 3-point scale (1:
Low, 2: Medium, and 3: High Sensitivity or Adaptive Capacity)
according to predetermined parameters for each. See Section
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity Indicators of Value Chain
Actors for the final indicator list; parameters and scoring scales
for each indicator can be seen in Appendix 2.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 4 | Key actors and relationships of the coffee value system in northeastern Peru for farmers unaffiliated (left) and affiliated with cooperatives (right).
Frequencies and directions of product and service flows are shown as arrows of different types. Service providers, some traditionally considered external to the coffee
value chain, provide different types of services primarily oriented at individual farmers (1) or cooperatives and private companies (2). Within the coffee value chain in NE
Peru, most farmers sell their product primarily as dried parchment coffee already having undergone primary wet-processing, intermediaries and cooperatives also
primarily sell dried parchment coffee to private companies, and both cooperative and private companies sell most of their product into national and international
export markets as green coffee after additional secondary processing, with only minor sales of roasted or ground coffee.
RESULTS
Key Interactions in the Current Coffee
Value Chain
The coffee value chain in northeastern Peru is more aptly
described as a coffee value network integrating five major actor
groups: farmers, local intermediary stockpilers, cooperatives,
private companies, and service providers (Figure 4). Farmers
are the basal node of the network, interacting with all other
major actors, who occasionally overlap in their roles relating
to coffee production and commercialization. There are different
types of farmers: those unaffiliated and those affiliated with
coffee cooperatives (member farmers). Both types of farmers
may supply intermediary stockpilers, cooperatives, or private
companies with dried parchment coffee, but the frequency with
which they sell their coffee to each actor differs. Unaffiliated
farmers primarily sell to local intermediaries while cooperative
members sell primarily, but not exclusively, to their cooperatives.
While cooperatives in principle source only from their members,
members often choose to sell part or all their crop to the other
buyers or fail to produce enough supply to meet the demand
of the cooperative’s commercial agreements with higher-level
buyers, so coffee cooperatives often also purchase coffee from
non-member farmers or local stockpilers to make up the deficit.
Local intermediaries stockpile coffee directly from farmers
at the hyper-local to district-wide levels, with some farmers
working as micro-stockpilers who purchase from neighboring
farmers and sell to larger intermediaries. Private companies
purchase parchment coffee primarily from larger intermediaries
or cooperatives, although they may also purchase from farmers.
Private companies can be strictly national or associated with
international holding companies. National companies more
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
frequently purchase directly from farmers, while international
companies more frequently buy from cooperatives. Companies
and some cooperatives are the point of sale for coffee into the
national and international markets, with the greatest proportion
of sales going into the international market as green coffee
exports by companies sourcing from northeastern Peru.
With the flow of coffee from farmers to the market there
is also a flow of goods and services among actors, in which
external service providers also participate, that enables the
central activities of coffee production and marketing. These
activities are the basis of the value chain and strongly
influence farmers’ resources for inclusive participation (Figure 4;
Supplementary Table S1). External service providers are public
and private businesses and institutions that participate in the
value chain without necessarily being directly linked to the
purchase and sale of the product, however, many of them are
indispensable for its operation. These businesses and institutions
provide farmers, affiliated and unaffiliated, with financial
services (i.e., credits), transportation, institutional services (i.e.,
technical, management assistance, and regulatory assistance), or
agricultural inputs needed for production (i.e., fertilizers, seed,
tools, and warehouses). Cooperatives often receive the same
range of services and supplies as individual farmers at a local
level, but cooperatives and companies are additionally clients of
logistics and transportation, processing, and certification services
by independent businesses at regional and national levels.
These two actors (cooperatives and companies) are the medium
by which individual farmers who are cooperative members
or participate in buyer’s arrangements with companies obtain
certifications for participation in specialty coffee markets. Like
the mediation of certification services, in some cases key services
for farmers and cooperatives also are provided “internally”
by intermediaries, cooperatives and companies. For example,
intermediaries may provide cash, grocery, or supply advances
on crops to unaffiliated farmers, companies and cooperatives
may provide advances, transportation or technical assistance to
cooperative members or farmers with whom they have direct-
buy agreements, often replacing or complementing the role
of external service providers. Thus, depending on the nature
of the relationship between farmers and their buyers, and
their cooperative affiliation, supporting services may come from
different actors.
Territorial Climate Risk and Required
Adaptation
Climate Models and Projected Risk
Climate models estimate that 48.8% (6 million ha.) of the
surface area of the three regions is currently climatically suitable
for growing coffee, coinciding well with current production
zones. However, significant changes in the area and spatial
distribution of agroclimatic zones between 2016 and 2030
(Supplementary Figure S1;Appendix 1) are projected to lead to
major changes in area suitability for coffee production. Change
in the distribution of climatic zones is estimated to lead to a net
loss of suitable land area in the region, with a net decline of 10.5%
regional surface area or 31% of currently suitable area (Table 1).
This exposure risk varies with elevation and topography and
so is not uniformly shared across regions—in part because of
differing topographies and elevations among them (Figures 2,
5). Suitability losses requiring adaptive transformation are
concentrated in elevations below 1,000 m.a.s.l. Mean elevations
of currently suitable areas for coffee production vary by region:
Amazonas- 1,246 m.a.s.l (Min-Max: 412–3,087), Cajamarca-
1,400 m.a.s.l. (470–3,023), and San Martin- 734 m.a.s.l. (200–
1,974). Having more suitable area currently at low elevations,
San Martin, which has over half of the total suitable area in the
three regions, is expected to lose 43% of its currently suitable
area for coffee production (accounting for much of the entire
study region’s loss), a much higher percentage than the other
two (Table 1). Of those areas remaining suitable within each
region, nearly half are expected to face future climates different
enough to require systemic adjustments and resilience building,
while the other half will retain climatic conditions similar to
present ones that require only incremental adjustments for
coping with climate variability within historic means (middle to
high elevations).
In contrast, areas where climate may present new
opportunities for coffee farming are at the highest elevations,
beyond the range of current coffee production (Figures 2,5).
Furthermore, these areas tend to occur to the south of the
regions, away from the focal study districts where fieldwork
was conducted. This regional variation in climate risk exposure
and recommended adaptation level with topography is similarly
reflected in the perceptions of on-going climate change impacts
by farmers at the district scale.
TABLE 1 | Adaptation levels recommended for areas expected to be suitable for coffee production between 2016 and 2030, based on differences in agroecological zone
distribution between 2030 and 2016.
Adaptation level required Amazonas Cajamarca San Martin Total
(ha) (%) (ha) (%) (ha) (%) (ha) (%)
Incremental adjustment 570,995 47 628,292 46 996,128 29 2,195,415 36
Systemic adjustment 377,370 31 405,461 30 573,744 17 1,356,575 23
Systemic resilience building 74,134 6 126,363 9 391,544 11 592,041 10
Transformation 201,356 16 191,821 14 1,479,674 43 1,872,850 31
Opportunity* 184,261 — 156,085 — 242,503 — 582,850 —
2016 Suitable area 1,223,856 100 1,351,936 100 3,441,090 100 6,016,882 100
*Opportunity zones represent areas becoming newly suitable for coffee production in 2030.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 5 | Recommended adaptation levels based on the expected changes in the distribution of suitable agroecological zones for coffee production between 2016
and 2030. Transformation is recommended for currently suitable areas expected to become unsuitable, while areas that will gain suitability may represent
opportunities for smallholders in those regions. See Materials and Methods for a complete explanation of the other adaptation levels.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
TABLE 2 | Final indicators used to assess sensitivity to climate change of coffee farmers (A) and cooperatives, intermediaries, and private companies (B) according to the
classification under the resource types of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework.
Resource (A) Farmers (B) Cooperatives, intermediaries and private companies
Indicator Sub-indicator Description Indicator Sub-indicator Description
Natural Production
capacity
Quantity Trend in the
variation of
production
quantity during
recent harvests
Variability in
quantity and
quality of product
collected
Quantity Variability in the
annual volume of
coffee collected in
the last 4 years
Quality Trend in the
variation of
production quality
during recent
harvests
Quality (physical
and cup)
Trends in the
variation of
physical and cup
quality of coffee
from the main
collection area
Soil quality Fertility Fertility related soil
properties
Sourcing
dependence/risk
Dependence on
high-risk
production areas
Importance of low
zones among
collection areas
Erodibility Terrain slope — —
Water availability Availability Proportion of year
with access to
water
— —
Past impact of
climate events
Prolonged drought Percentage of
crop/harvest lost
— —
Intense rains Physical damage — —
Cold winds, frost
or hail
Physical damage — —
Past impact of
pests and
diseases
Prevalence of
pests and disease
in the crop
Percentage of
crop/harvest lost
— —
Human Health and illness Health conditions
and incidence of
new diseases
Cases reported — —
Food security Production of
subsistence food
crops for family
consumption
Production of
subsistence crops
— —
Physical Accessibility and
transportation
Quality of
transportation
infrastructure
Ability to transit
with motorized
transportation
— —
Financial Potential impact
on income
Dependence on
coffee income
Percentage of
family’s income
represented by
coffee earnings
Marketing of
resistant varieties
Varieties marketed Importance of
leaf-rust resistant
varieties in those
marketed
Current Climate Impacts at the District Scale
Within the focal study districts, farmers’ perceptions reflect
high spatial variability of recent changes in climate and their
impacts, but there is a consistent grouping of climate impacts
along elevational zones. Generally, farmers reported increased
variability in precipitation, unpredictability in the onset and
duration of rainy seasons and an increase in maximum
temperatures since the early 1990’s. Some farmers also perceive
that extreme climate events (short, high-intensity rainfall or
prolonged dry spells) have become more common in their
locality, and this tends to vary yearly. Although the complex
Andean topography and effects of slope orientation on wind
and precipitation introduce high variability in climate and
local changes at the district scale, reports of certain kinds
of stressors and severity of impacts show a clear trend with
elevation. Increasing issues with heat and drought that exacerbate
coffee borer (Hypothenemus hampei) infestation and damage
coffee berries were reported in low zones (900–1,200 m.a.s.l.)
of all three districts. High (1,600–1,900 m.a.s.l.) elevation
zones, in contrast, tend to suffer more from the other extreme,
increased exposure to frost and high-intensity rainfall events,
often accompanied by strong winds, tend to physically damage
coffee-bushes, burn berries, and increase incidence of fungal
diseases like leaf rust (Hemileia vastratrix) and American leaf
spot (Mycena citricolor). They also experience increased erosion
and damage to rural road infrastructure. In both cases, impacts
can lead to reduced quantity and quality of coffee production.
Middle elevations (1,200–1,600 m.a.s.l.) tend to be exposed to
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
intermediate effects of both extremes and report intermediate
levels of damage to coffee plants and production.
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity
Indicators of Value Chain Actors
A final set of 13 and 14 indicators were selected to evaluate the
sensitivity and adaptive capacity of farmers, cooperatives, and
private companies (Tables 2,3). An additional 4 sets of indicators
were used to evaluate the ability of service providers (internal
and external) to support all other actors in adaptation to climate
change (Table 3). Chosen sensitivity indicators for farmers (9
indicators, 13 sub-indicators) touched on 4 of the 5 capitals
in the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, focusing on climate
impacts on the crop (natural capital), on farmers and their
families (human capital), on infrastructure related to production
(physical capital) and the potential impact on their income
(financial capital). Sensitivity indicators for cooperatives and
private companies (3 indicators, 4 sub-indicators) only focused
on natural (impact on the ability to source product of sufficient
quantity and quality) and financial capital (potential impact
TABLE 3 | Indicators of factors used to assess the adaptive capacity of farmers (A), cooperatives and private companies (B), and the current ability of service providers
(C) to contribute to the previous actors’ adaptation, according to Sustainable Livelihoods resource type.
Resource Indicator Sub- indicator Adaptation level*
(A) Farmers
Natural Coffee plantation characteristics Soil quality: has soils with good fertility and properties for
production
I; S
Access to water: presence of water at the farm//possibility of
establishing an irrigation system
I; S
Access to quality seed: presence of selected or certified plants I; S
Application of best practices for establishment, management, and
cost administration
I; S; SR
Implementation of agroforestry systems (AFS) I; S; SR
Farm composition Implementation of adaptation actions I; S; SR; T
Availability of land for renewal of coffee plantations and crop
diversification.
S; SR; T
Availability of land for sustainable management at the farm level
(natural resource conservation//forest remnants//secondary forest
regrowth)
S; SR; T
Human Level of knowledge and understanding of topics related
to climate-change risk
Access to information, training, and innovation (for the required
adaptation level)
I; S; SR; T
Level of association Level of “active” participation in producers organizations I; S; SR; T
Physical Post-harvest process quality Presence of a processing plant I; S
Financial Access to credit Access to credit for investment (can distinguish by duration and
intervention type)
I; S; SR; T
Diversification of income Involvement in other economic activities S; SR; T
(B) Cooperatives and private companies
Human Capacity to provide technical assistance services to
farmers
Frequency of technical assistance I; S
Attitudes toward interventions related to climate change Organizational experience with adaptation, mitigation, or other
actions
I; S
Access to information about climate change Level of access to information about climate change I; S
Access to technical assistance from government or
NGOs
Level of access to technical assistance by part of the government I; S; SR
Financial Investment in production-monitoring systems Level of investment in systems for monitoring production I; S; SR
Access to financial assistance from government or NGOs Level of access to financial assistance I; S; SR
Access to own capital available to invest in new
technologies
Level of access to their own capital for investment in adaptation
measures
I; S; SR
(C) Service providers
Human Support for training in adaptation, innovation and
climate-appropriate practices and technologies
Orientation toward technical assistance services; production of
technology and formulation of innovative practices
I; S; SR: T
Provision of information about climate change Level of provision on information about climate change I; S
Social Capacity to innovate in the design of services Characteristics of the services offered I; S
Level of inter-institutional coordination Coordination and consensus mechanisms between NGOs,
ministries, and local/regional government in the coffee sector
I; S; SR
*The last column indicates what adaptation level each factor would be important for: I, incremental adjustments; S, systemic adjustments; SR, systemic resilience building;
T, transformation.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
on the ability to market product). Similarly, adaptive capacity
indicators for cooperatives and private companies covered only
human and financial capital, while factors related to service
providers’ abilities to support adaptation covered only human
and social categories.
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity: Farmers
Sensitivity
Overall, farmers scored at an intermediate level of sensitivity,
but were highly sensitive in two areas (Avg. Scores >2.3). High
sensitivity to pests and diseases and dependence on coffee were
observed across elevational zones and districts (Figures 6A,C),
although the low elevation zone scored the highest on both.
Indeed, among elevational zones, low regions tended to have
the highest sensitivity scores across indicators (6 of 9). The high
scores on disease prevalence and dependence on coffee income
reflects the high susceptibility of local plantations to coffee rust
and large contribution of coffee to farmers’ income. A sizable
number of farmers suffered significant negative impacts on their
crop production from the 2012 to 2013 coffee rust epidemic and
73% of farmers interviewed earned more than half their annual
income from coffee production.
For all other indicators, overall averages from our farmer
sample suggest that regionally, sensitivity is intermediate to
low in other factors. Notably, interviewees reported high water
availability and low impacts on their family’s health across
elevational zones and regions. However, as with the overall
sensitivity index (average of all indices), when we examine the
remaining indicators individually we observe that there is greater
variability between districts than between elevations. Farmers
in San Martin showed the highest overall sensitivity (Score:
2.0), with scores >2.3 in 4 of 9 indicators: production capacity,
pest prevalence, accessibility and transportation, and income
dependence on coffee. Furthermore, farmers in San Martin
reported the highest impacts of extreme climate events on their
coffee plantations (Score: 2.2).
Overall impacts of extreme climatic events were intermediate,
however, there were differences between elevational zones and
regions when impacts were considered separately by type of
event. Prolonged droughts had the greatest impact in low
and middle regions, while intense rainfall affected farms at
high elevations most. Farmers in San Martin also experienced
the strongest impacts of prolonged drought and cold events
(Figure 7).
Adaptive Capacity
While farm families showed intermediate overall adaptive
capacities (Scores: 1.7–2.3), scores on half of individual
adaptive capacity indicators were low or borderline low, often
lowest at low elevations and markedly lowest in San Martin
(Overall score: 1.6) (Figures 6B,D). The strongest limitations
(Scores <1.7) were in areas important to adaptation of
coffee production (access to quality seed and climate-change
information, innovation, and training) and their own household
economies (income diversification). Most farmers collect their
own, haphazardly selected seed, or acquire them from neighbors,
stores, and cooperatives without clear knowledge of the
quality, characteristics or management requirements of the
seed they buy. This agronomic limitation is compounded by
relatively low/intermediate levels of knowledge or application
of best management practices for coffee cultivation or farm
administration (regular fertilization, integrated pest and weed
control, soil monitoring, budget and record keeping), including
application of agroforestry practices. Nearly 30% of farmers
farm without shade trees or integrate only a single tree species
and only 10% managed more than 3 tree species in their
coffee plantations. As with sensitivity, most of these issues are
more pronounced at low elevations and in San Martin. Yet,
individual farmers did report implementing some agronomic
climate adaptation measures: several at low elevations have
installed sprinkler irrigation to counter drought, others were
replacing rust-impacted plants with disease-resistant varieties as
part of the National Coffee Renewal Program, a few actively
used integrated soil management strategies to buffer erosion
during extreme rains, and at least one had introduced a heat-
resistant variety.
Although most interviewees reported awareness of agronomic
and management innovations that could be used for climate-
change management, few accessed them or received sufficient
training in their use. While the area has intermediate levels of
farmer association with cooperatives (50% of interviewees were
members, higher than the national average), whose technical
assistance services appear to be the main venue for receiving
training in best practices, climate-change and other technologies,
its level, frequency, and consistency has been insufficient to
create true competency among most farmers. Furthermore,
despite cooperative membership, most farmers did not report
active and involved participation in cooperative activities, except
in high elevation zones and Cajamarca. These capacities were
once again lowest in low and middle elevations, as well as
in San Martin.
Income diversification and availability of land for renewal of
coffee plantations or conservation, factors particularly important
for higher levels of long-term adaptation (systemic resilience
building and transformation) were low and intermediate.
Involvement in current long-term and stable, on- and off-
farm, income-generating activities unrelated to coffee were
low across the board, but particularly pronounced in high
elevations and San Martin. Furthermore, across elevations there
is limited availability of land for on-farm diversification of
production or coffee renewal (Scores: High =1.8, Middle =
1.7, Low =1.8) and on-farm conservation (Scores: High =
2.0, Middle =2.0, Low =1.4), most pronounced in low
elevation areas.
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity:
Cooperatives
Overall, cooperatives are less sensitive than individual farmers
(affiliated or unaffiliated) to effects of climate change, with
low to intermediate sensitivity scores and similar tendencies
among regional districts across most indicators (Figure 6E).
Cooperatives interviewed collect coffee primarily from high and
middle elevations, areas less vulnerable to climate impacts to
date and despite most collecting from varieties susceptible to
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 6 | Sensibility and adaptive capacity of farmers (A–D) and cooperatives (E,F) as assessed by key indicators in the focal study districts: Lonya Grande
(Amazonas), San Ignacio (Cajamarca), and Moybamba (San Martin). Thick lines display average indicator scores for farmers grouped by elevational zone (A,B) or
district (C,D), and cooperatives (E,F) grouped by focal study district. Vertical numbered scale varies from low (1) to high (3) sensitivity or adaptive capacity. Shaded
zones in the radar charts indicate regions of low and high scores on the scale (low: <1.7, medium: 1.7–2.3, high: >2.3).
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 7 | Average impact of extreme climatic events on coffee production at the farm level by elevational zone (A) and focal district region (B). Sensitivity scales
from 1 to 3 from lowest to highest impact, these range from no event occurrence or no impact to high impacts leading to loss of coffee productivity and quality.
Shaded zones indicate regions of low and high scores on the scale (low: <1.7, medium: 1.7–2.3, high: >2.3).
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
major pests and diseases, they collect and market coffee mixes
of multiple varieties, including a few resistant ones. Thus far,
except for cooperatives operating in Moyobamba-San Martin,
they have been little impacted by pest or climate related events
in their ability to collect coffee between 2012 and 2016, with
little variability in product volumes and similar variability in
bean quality reported. At least one cooperative reported that
variability in their ability to collect coffee was primarily due
to market fluctuations. However, the greater sensitivity of San
Martin cooperatives’ ability to collect coffee does correlate with
higher impacts on regional farmers’ production ability during
the same period (high sensitivity in production capacity, climate
impacts, accessibility and transportation, see Section Sensitivity),
suggesting cooperatives sensitivities are not entirely uncoupled
from those of farmers.
Cooperatives’ adaptive capacity, in contrast, is low across
several indicators (4/7) and markedly lower overall in Amazonas
(Figure 6F). They are strongly limited by lack of access to
internal capital and external financial support from public
institutions that they could invest in adaptation measures or
technologies, weak and inconstant technical assistance from
Peruvian state agencies or NGOs, and sporadic access to climate
change information relevant to coffee. Nevertheless, they also
reported relevant organizational experience with climate-change
adaptation/mitigation interventions through participation in
national programs that originated in response to the 2011–2012
coffee rust outbreak (e.g., National Coffee Renewal Program)
and more recent programs focusing on climate-appropriate
practices sponsored by NGOs. Individual cooperatives reported
various strategies which engaged external service providers
for support in actions that would bolster resilience after
pest outbreaks and other disturbances, including increased
assistance in preventative management, aid in financial assistance
acquisition, diversification of products marketed, and some
environmental stewardship. Furthermore, with the exception
cooperatives in Amazonas, they also scored high in aspects
related to their reported ability to provide services or invest in
technical assistance and monitoring of production.
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity: Private
Companies
Like cooperatives, private companies sourcing coffee in
northeastern Peru showed low sensitivity to climate change
effects on coffee production, primarily because they spread
their risk by sourcing from multiple elevational areas and
regions nationally and internationally. Thus, they buffer
variability in production quantities and quality. Furthermore,
interviewees indicated that they market different qualities and
varieties of coffee mixes via different channels and so can use
beans regardless of variability in quality or variety. Their field
personnel actively monitor and estimate future coffee production
and they adjust their buyers’ contracts accordingly. Their
primary risk is borne when they have already invested locally
in stockpiling or processing infrastructure within low elevation
or high climate exposure areas in their sourcing network, but
processing infrastructure in Peru is mostly located away from
primary production regions.
Unlike cooperatives, companies are stronger in financial
aspects of their adaptive capacity, although interviewees’
responses suggest they tend to be less directly involved in the
provision of technical assistance to farmers or local experiences
with adaptation/mitigation measures and vary in their access to
climate change information. Although governmental financial
support for companies is almost non-existent, companies invest
their own private capital in their operations and adaptation, but
it was not clearly indicated how much of this is actually invested
in organizational or on-the-ground adaptation. Adaptation
action is primarily limited to sustainability tracking by internal
departments, but in general, local technical service provision and
locally relevant climate action is rare. Only a single respondent
indicated Peru-specific actions (promotion of rust resistant
varieties, climate-smart practice testing at model farms), but
implemented them outside of the northeastern coffee region. One
other company mentioned general support of implementation of
rust-resistant varieties and research program implementation in
other countries.
Service Provider Contribution to Adaptive
Capacity
External service provider support and contribution to the
adaptive capacity of farmers and cooperatives was variable
among providers (individual agencies and provider types)
and shows a frequent lack of coordination among different
providers. Government agencies oriented toward agricultural
technical assistance provide information locally to farmers,
but their services rarely integrate climate-appropriate practices,
adaptation, or mitigation systematically nor promote long-term,
planned adaptation actions and technologies in the region. They
provide some information about climate change but are rarely
innovative nor promote innovation adequately. Nevertheless,
local agrarian services are the most involved in the provision of
information and technical assistance that enables diversification
measures. NGOs with local programs provide greater innovation
in service provision, targeted information on climate change,
and experimentation with delivery of climate-smart practices and
technology to farmers and extensionists via workshops. However,
these remain isolated experiences of limited reach.
In general, provision of information about climate change and
associated risks is fragmented and often of limited coverage or
inappropriate scope. The national agencies which can provide
weather and climate-relevant information (National Agricultural
Research Institute-INIA and National Meteorological Service-
SENAMHI) lack local presence, while local agencies have
limited coverage and information delivery channels. The
National Agricultural Sanitary Agency (SENASA) provides
climate information and training to farmers upon request as
related to direct risks to crops (pests, drought, fire).
Research and technology transfer that could drive innovation
and test locally relevant adaptation options is very limited.
National institutes in charge of research and technology transfer
related to agriculture (INIA and MINAGRI) conduct research
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
but communicate findings very locally and their research stations
have highly limited coverage, none in the study districts. Genetic
improvement research is virtually non-existent. One private
company also mentioned private investment in research on
model farms, but again, this information is only shared with
affiliated farmers from model farms located outside the region.
Existing financial support via formal financial institutions
is available, in addition to advances from intermediaries, and
farmers can nominally access it, but its appropriateness for fully
supporting adaptation and systemic transformation of coffee
farmers and cooperatives is unclear. Informal advances are only
available for immediate production use. Formal access to credit
is not always accessible to farmers, as they fail to meet eligibility
requirements. Furthermore, the conditions of use of formal
credits are typically restrictive to mid or long-term investment
in technology, improved management, or adaptation measures
and only recently has financing for investment in measures like
agroforestry become available.
Finally, most public service providers, NGOs, and
cooperatives report frequent cooperation with other agencies,
but respondents indicate little effective institutional coordination
on cohesive actions. Cooperatives and private companies alike
indicated generally little coordination with other cooperatives
and companies. Private companies collaborate with NGO’s, but
almost never with government providers.
DISCUSSION
Smallholder farmers form the base of a value-chain system that
sustains coffee production in northeastern Peru. The supply
of coffee by these farmers and their exchange relationships
with all other actors enable the marketing of regional coffee
to national and international consumers, and the vulnerability
of the value chain rests on the ability of different actors to
maintain these exchange relationships. This central role suggests
that famer vulnerability to climate change would dictate that
of the entire coffee value chain. However, our findings suggest
that territorial differences in farmers’ vulnerability (product
of climate-change exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity),
coupled with asymmetries in the relationship between farmers
and other actors, de-couple the vulnerability of the coffee-value
chain from that of individual smallholder farmers, particularly
the most vulnerable. Below we discuss why this is the case
and why, despite the current importance of coffee production
as a smallholder livelihood in the study region, the regional
adaptation of smallholder farmers to climate change will
require a shift from a single value-chain focus to territorial,
systems thinking.
Territorial Heterogeneity in Farmer
Vulnerability to CC
Our results reveal substantial territorial heterogeneity in climate
exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of farmers in different
elevations and districts, leading to differences in vulnerabilities
depending on farm location. This is due to territorial differences
in exposure and lesser differences in adaptive capacities of
farmers and their ability to meet required adaptation levels
(Table 4). Among elevational zones, our results suggest that
coffee farmers with farms in low elevation areas are highly
vulnerable to expected climate change due to high climate-
risk exposure and the inadequacy of current adaptative capacity
to match required adaptation levels. With the greatest land
area predicted to become unsuitable for coffee, farms at low
elevations will require transformational adaptations that would
shift livelihoods and agricultural production systems away
from coffee, but their adaptive capacity is strongly limited in
key areas that contribute to systemic resilience building and
transformation. While high and middle elevations are similarly
limited, the scope of their adaptation needs is lower and their
current capacities better able to match them despite existing
deficiencies. More farms at middle elevations, and most farms at
high elevations, will likely be able to continue coffee production
with the implementation of only incremental and systemic
adjustments to agronomic practices and farm management. This,
however, is not a challenge to be underestimated as at present,
there is a lack of capacity for ordinary agronomic management
(e.g., application of best management practices and access to
quality planting material).
These elevational differences scale up to observed differences
in vulnerability between study districts and regions. The most
vulnerable of the three northeastern coffee regions appears
to be San Martin, which not only has more of its currently
suitable areas at low elevations, but the highest sensitivities
and lowest adaptive capacities, also reflecting of the greater
representation of farmers with farms at low elevations in our
interview sample. However, it is also likely that environmental
histories and social and institutional factors condition regional
differences in sensitivity and adaptive capacity of both farmers
and cooperatives. Regional differences in the legacy of local
political and institutional development pathways, and the history
of territorial development and colonization of the Amazon
cannot be fully evaluated here. Our analysis may also fail to
capture aspects of territorial vulnerabilities emerging from social
and governance dimensions. For example, while farmers at high
elevation regions may be presented with new opportunities to
establish or expand coffee production in previously unsuitable
areas, they may be unable to do so without generating land-
use conflict where government land and forest zonation (e.g.,
protected areas) or communal land tenure (e.g., indigenous
territories) will prevent them from obtaining legal land titles and
gaining formal recognition (Robiglio et al., 2015).
The nested-scale, territorial variability in coffee farmer
vulnerability described here may be generalizable to most coffee
growing regions, which encompass topographically and socially
heterogeneous landscapes. Global and regional studies of changes
in climatic suitability for coffee or perceived climate impacts have
repeatedly demonstrated spatial and topographic heterogeneity
in exposure at mid and small scales in most regions (e.g., Bunn
et al., 2014, 2015; Schroth et al., 2014; Ovalle-Rivera et al.,
2015; Viguera et al., 2019). Similarly, studies in Central America
have shown small-scale heterogeneity in coffee farmer’s adaptive
capacity, climate sensitivity and overall vulnerability (Baca et al.,
2014; Holland et al., 2017).
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
TABLE 4 | Vulnerability matrix for coffee farmers at different elevational zones in northeastern Peru.
Elevational zone Exposure Sensitivity Capacity for incremental
and systemic adaptation
Capacity for
transformation
Vulnerability
Low High Intermediate Low Low High
Moderate to strong
reduction in coffee
production volumes
Strong impacts of pest
and diseases
Moderately strong
impacts of drought
Moderate food insecurity
High income dependence
on coffee
Very low access to quality
seed
Intermediate application
of best practices and
agroforestry
Intermediate access to
water for irrigation
Low access to
information, training and
innovation related to
climate-adapted practices
and technology
Low availability to lands
for on-farm conservation
measures and
diversification
Restricted access to
capital for investment in
diversification or
long-term improvements
Low involvement in other
income
generating activities
Middle Intermediate-high Intermediate/low Low/intermediate Low Intermediate-high
Moderate to strong
impact of pests and
diseases
Moderate impacts of
drought
High income dependence
on coffee
Low access to quality
seed
Intermediate application
of best practices and
agroforestry
Intermediate access to
water for irrigation
Low access to
information, training and
innovation related to
climate-adapted practices
and technology
Restricted access to
lands for on-farm
conservation measures
and diversification
Restricted access to
capital for investment in
diversification or
long-term improvements
Low involvement in other
income
generating activities
High Low Intermediate Intermediate Low Low-Intermediate
Strong impacts of pests
and diseases
Moderate impacts of
intense rains
Moderate food insecurity
High income dependence
on coffee
Low/intermediate access
to quality seed
Intermediate application
of best practices
and agroforestry
Low access to
information, training and
innovation related to
climate-adapted practices
and technology
Restricted access to
lands for on-farm
conservation measures
and diversification
Restricted access to
capital for investment in
diversification or
long-term improvements
Very low involvement in
other income
generating activities
Heterogeneity in Vulnerability Among
Actors
Significant differences in the direct exposure, sensitivities and
adaptive capacity of actors show that vulnerabilities also differ
between actors, with farmers by far the most vulnerable in the
coffee- value chain. Considering their main role as collectors
and movers of green coffee, cooperatives and companies are
significantly less sensitive than farmers. The practice of sourcing
from multiple elevations, districts, or regions, buffers the impact
on their ability to gather coffee of sufficient quantity and quality.
Companies and cooperatives are less territorially dependent
than farmers for their primary activity and thus less exposed.
Cooperatives, more regionally based and with a base of farmer
stakeholders, are in theory more exposed and sensitive than
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
companies. While they may be able to weather a certain amount
of variability in coffee production by collecting from different
areas, this ability appears to be limited when impacts on farmers’
coffee production are more severe or widespread regionally, as
was suggested in the case of our results in San Martin (see Section
Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity: Cooperatives).
In addition to exposure avoidance via territorial
diversification in sourcing and buying from intermediaries
when volume demand requires it, both actors frequently employ
other short-term, commercial risk-avoidance or risk-spreading
strategies which buffer the direct impact of climate events on
their participation in the chain. For example, they employ
coffee mixing, multiple marketing channels, and branding to
sell product to consumers regardless of fluctuations in coffee
quality. Furthermore, private companies set the terms of buying
contracts strategically based on their monitoring of regional
climate and market risks.
Like farmers, companies and cooperatives interviewed here
scored low on several aspects that could help the coffee
sector with building systemic resilience to greater climate
stresses: access to information on climate change, technical and
financial assistance earmarked for adaptation, and investment
in new technologies. However, cooperatives, like farmers, are
more limited in human and financial resources for adaptation.
Companies have greater resources available to them, the biggest
hurdle appears to be in the internal attitudes to proactively
pursuing climate change interventions that involve other actors
beyond managing their own commercial risk. Within our
small sample, there were notable differences in these attitudes
between companies and a broader survey would be required to
draw generalizable conclusions for companies operating in the
region. We know of more recent engagement by companies not
interviewed here in climate-smart coffee and deforestation free
coffee initiatives led by international cooperation organizations
working in Peru. Nevertheless, the difficulty in obtaining greater
participation in the study by companies, despite its backing by
the National Coffee and Cocoa Chamber of Commerce, may
be symptomatic of generally low awareness and possibly low
concern and interest in facilitating adaptation interventions due
to the flexibility they have in managing their supply chain.
In practice, the success of territorial and commercial
diversification of climate risk in reducing the vulnerability of
companies possibly disincentivizes other adaptive actions in
which companies must invest more resources to support the
adaptive capacities of farmers and cooperatives in a given
territory. Across elevations and focal regions, low adaptive
capacities for facing climate change, stemming from inadequacy
in technical support and access to innovations for both coffee
and general climate-smart agricultural practices, together with
low access to capital for investing in medium and long -
term adaptation measures, rather than high sensitivity, are the
greatest contributors to both coffee-farmer and cooperative
vulnerabilities. With few exceptions and very limited coverage,
despite their role as internal service providers companies do
not appear to be fulfilling this need in the value chain.
Therefore, the main adaptive strategies of companies, and
sometimes cooperatives, contributes to inherent asymmetry in
the commercial relationships and vulnerability burden among
farmers, cooperatives and companies in northeastern Peru.
The coexistence of different relationship pathways for farmers
depending on their affiliation with cooperatives or other
organizations might also cause heterogeneity in vulnerability
among farmers. Despite the limited ability of cooperatives in
the region to deliver high-level services fully adequate for
adaptation needs, cooperatives are an important, locally based
support for farmers. Cooperative members have the option of
receiving support services via their organizations or external
service providers while unaffiliated farmers rely primarily on
external service providers and occasionally, private companies.
Agricultural cooperatives may be more effective at technology
transfer and facilitation or encouragement of new practice
adoption when they have high levels of social capital (Candemir
et al., 2021), fostered by governance that is responsible to and
empowering of its members (such as by participatory decision
making) (Ruben and Heras, 2012). Interviewed farmers with
organizational affiliation had greater adaptive capacity than
unaffiliated peers, with notably greater access to quality seed,
information, and training, and increased use of best management
practices (Supplementary Figure S2), supporting the idea that
cooperatives and other base organizations are locally important
for decreasing key limitations in adaptive capacity and hence,
vulnerability of farmers. However, lower participation in other
economic activities by cooperative members reinforces the idea
that their support to date has tended to be limited to helping
members continue working within the coffee sector rather than
diversifying productive options.
Vulnerability of the Coffee Value-Chain and
Its Role in Supporting Smallholder Farmer
Adaptation in Northeastern Peru
Despite expectations for a substantial reduction of climatically
suitable area for coffee, the heterogeneity in vulnerability among
territorial locations and value-chain actors suggests that the
overall ability of northeastern Peru to continue participating
in the coffee sector will be weakened rather than eliminated,
but with a highly uneven distribution of impact and adaptation
burden among territories and actors. The greatest vulnerability
and adaptation burden will be borne by those actors most tied to
the territory, individual smallholder farmers, and those territories
most exposed to strong changes in climate, low to middle
elevation areas. As climate exposure studies have suggested for
Indonesian coffee farming (Schroth et al., 2014), this will cause
winners and losers at the regional level. Political districts with
the highest proportion of vulnerable farmers, like Moyobamba-
San Martin, will be the most impacted and require the greatest
adaptation efforts. Districts where coffee farming will be a new
opportunity may be winners, but as noted above, there are
restrictions to expansion on forest and protection land that
belongs to the State and that is key to support nature-based
adaptation processes.
While companies and other buyers may be able to continue
in the coffee sector by changing their sourcing areas locally
and nationally, farmers and to some extent, base producer
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
organizations, face scenarios that require some to seek productive
adaptations outside, rather than within the coffee sector. Our
results suggest that within a decade, many smallholder coffee
farmers in low-elevation areas will not be able to participate in
the coffee value chain and need to look toward transforming their
production systems and livelihoods away from coffee if they are
going to stay in their lands. Regionwide, farmers are strongly
limited in key areas that would enable them to adapt as required
both within (incremental and systemic adaptation, systemic
resilience building capacities) and outside the coffee industry
(systemic resilience building and transformation capacities). As
farmers’ adaptive capacity is heavily subsidized by knowledge
and material resources provided by other actors “internal”
and “external” to the coffee value-chain, the adaptation of
smallholder farmers in northeastern Peru will require increased
and optimized support in these key areas.
These areas are, not coincidentally, where current support by
participants in the role service providers is insufficient (Figure 8).
Government agencies in the agricultural, development and
environmental sectors are the most well-poised to provide many
of these services. By their own mandates, agencies are there
to provision and regulate public services for the improvement
of issues affecting farmers directly, independently of their
involvement in the coffee sector. They already provide advice
on other agricultural products, for example. Actors that provide
services “within” the value chain, like private companies and
large cooperatives, in contrast, provide limited coverage and
range of services and their relative territorial independence
means they have little inherent commercial incentive to improve
the scope, depth or type of service provision within a given
territory and no incentive to facilitate transformative adaptation.
While there is room for innovative strategies for incentivizing the
involvement of private companies in territorial adaptation that
should nevertheless be pursued, these alone will probably never
suffice for improving adaptive capacity of farmers. Government
agencies already provide some support on best agronomic
practices (fertilization, pest management, etc.). Strengthening
these services can go a long way to improving pre-existing
conditions in the region that contribute to the vulnerability
of coffee production (e.g., low application of best practices,
financial management, etc.), but is insufficient for supporting
a strategic transformation process of farmers and productive
adaptation of the territorial system. A coordinated effort that
increases investment in and sharing of technology, information,
and productive options from national and research agencies to
local agencies, and a cohesive consideration of climate change
in the delivery of services in the agricultural and development
sectors will be required. This includes the facilitation of financial
structures that are truly inclusive of farmers’ adaptation needs.
A holistic effort to facilitate the adaptation of smallholder
coffee farmers must also consider the best ways to achieve
adequate coverage in the delivery of services and reduce current
gaps in support to farmers. While cooperatives and other
local producer organizations appear to be mediums by which
farmers can get more support in certain adaptive capacities,
regionally and nationally, cooperative members are the minority
of smallholders (CENAGRO, 2012). Despite the existence of
virtuous examples of coffee cooperatives that have grown by
improving the capacities of their producers for better production
in quantity and quality, access to niche markets, and fostering
diversification based on small-scale forestry and agroforestry, in
our personal experience we have observed an increasing trend
for cooperatives to be run like enterprises to the detriment of
members’ or elected member board empowerment, effectively
reflected in a weakened membership and a potential limitation to
their effectiveness in capacity building and technology transfer.
Agencies and allied actors will need to access funds and invest in
being innovative in reaching organized and unorganized farmers
to achieve better outcomes territorially. Finally, although much
emphasis is typically placed on support of economic/productive
diversification of smallholders so they can remain in the same
territory, aside from socio-economic and knowledge limitations
on ability, numerous cultural or social factors (age, willingness
to experiment, attitudes toward new technologies, perceptions
of benefits, land tenure) may prevent a good coffee farmer
from pursuing other products or additional products in more
complex agricultural arrangements (e.g., agroforestry) (Atangana
et al., 2014; Nguyen et al., 2021). In addition, our experience
suggests challenges to diversification might also come from
contextual factors in coffee production territories such as limited
accessibility, remoteness or unclear tenure rights that might
reduce the scope for successful integration into new value chains.
Because of this, migration to high-elevation, ecologically
fragile areas for conversion to coffee planting may present
an attractive adaptation strategy for some farmers, leading to
continued deforestation and impingement on future nature-
based adaptation options for territories. Greater consideration
of socio-cultural factors and environmental impact during the
design of service delivery and adaptation options by service
providers, rather than single-focus strategies, may be a way
the value chain can aid internal efforts like the adoption
of sustainability standards, and external efforts like market
certifications and governmental land zoning, in avoiding these
environmental externalities. This requires both for actors
along the value chain to be aware of territorial governance
in their supplying territories and increased leadership and
capacity of local governments to plan and enforce land
policies that reconcile production with forests and watershed
protection. One opportunity emerging in Peru is the recently
introduced legal mechanism of agroforestry concession, which
seeks to conserve forest and restore forest related ecosystem
functions by acknowledging farmers’ role in sustainable
forest management and agroforestry-based restoration at
forest frontiers (Robiglio and Reyes, 2016; Pokorny et al.,
2021). In clarifying land rights in remote forest frontier
areas, Agroforestry Concessions are also expected to favor
opportunities for diversification and facilitate market access
and inclusion of farmers by granting rights for the legal sale
of forestry products from the area. Principles of adaptation
should be integrated in the guidelines that will orient the design
of interventions at the local level, including investments by
public agencies and private sector such as cooperatives and
companies expected to support farmers in complying with
the mechanism.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
FIGURE 8 | Visual summary of actual and necessary contribution of the coffee value chain to farmer adaptation in coffee producing territories of northeastern Peru.
Scope of required adaptation processes (I, Incremental adaptation; S, Systemic adaptation; SR, Systemic resilience building; T, Transformation) for farmers along the
elevational gradient (top sector), the resources most needed by farmers for these adaptations (middle sector: Services) and the current capacity of different value
chain actors in service provider roles to fulfill these functions (bottom sector: Actors in Service Provision). Size of the symbols indicates the relative importance of
different actors in the provision of the necessary resources to farmers. Symbol color and type indicates the sufficiency of the actors in fulfilling these functions. GAP,
Good Agricultural Practices; AFS, Agroforestry System; CC, Climate Change.
Stronger land governance capacity is also key in enabling
conditions for private companies to adopt voluntary
sustainability standards, as they reduce the risks for standards to
be met as well as costs for traceability (Lambin and Thorlakson,
2018). There is a rising interest for matching sustainably
produced and zero-deforestation agricultural commodities with
territorial (jurisdictional) approaches to reduce deforestation;
in this context territorial brands or landscape labels have been
proposed a promising strategy for the private and public sector
to advance toward their respective sustainability agendas under
so called “hybrid” governance arrangements (see Diaz-Chavez
and van Dam, 2020). However, there is not yet evidence
about how state and private regulations can be combined in
generating environmental nor climate change adaptation impact
at the landscape level. In NE Peru, the Regional Government
of San Martin, has sought to launch the brand “Marca San
Martin Region” since 2016 to position agricultural products
produced in San Martin, conceived as a way to implement a
“Production Protection and Social Inclusion” (PPI) approach to
incentivize public-private cooperation in sustainable agricultural
development of the region (Robiglio et al., 2017; Diaz-Chavez
and van Dam, 2020; Reyes et al., 2020). Since then, and following
a change of government, there has been no significant progress
in achieving territorial outcomes that can be attributed to the
brand. Beside uncertainty about environmental outcomes, such
branding strategies may have limited territorial effectiveness in
relation to adaptation processes due to the existing heterogeneity
in regional climate risk compared to the broader territorial
focus of most geographical origin designations and the reality
that they are not in practice fully designed to prioritize support
to the adaptation of smallholder farmers vs. other value chain
actors or stakeholders (Grabs and Ponte, 2019). They could
best be considered complementary rather than replacements
for targeted measures of adaptation support to coffee farmers
discussed above.
Limitations and Strengths of Study
Indicators
To our knowledge, this study is the first to develop indicators
that assess the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of coffee value-
chain actors besides farmers within a climate change context.
They enabled us to look at the vulnerability of coffee production
beyond farmers and simultaneously consider the vulnerability of
farmers in relation to their interaction with other actors and their
vulnerability or adaptive capacity. Nevertheless, they had some
limitations that should be considered for future work seeking to
apply or expand this approach.
Indicators for cooperatives, companies and service providers
were chosen together with expert actors in the Peruvian coffee
sector and in that sense, considered legitimate indicators of
the capacity of these actors to participate in the coffee chain.
However, they narrowly considered sensitivity and adaptive
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
capacity within the actors’ transactional role in the chain
and ignore other aspects that could affect their capacity to
continue operating or providing services within the coffee
sector. For example, impacts on their internal human resources,
physical resources such as transportation infrastructure, or other
financial aspects that could represent constraints to value-chain
participation. A fuller treatment these actors under the Five-
Capitals Approach, as was applied to farmers, may yield richer
information. Additionally, aside from cooperatives, we did not
treat the indicators for these actors quantitatively. The broadness
of some of the information gathered, together with the small
sample size made such attempts difficult and further work is
required to develop and test questions and scoring scales for
generalized application.
Finally, further indicator development and in-depth study
is required to understand the relationships between indicators
used for different actors and how the specific questions used
to probe them may be modified to understand them. We
observed an apparent contradiction in the assessed frequency
of cooperatives’ ability to offer supporting services and farmers’
reported access to supporting services that could be covered by
these. While part of this can be explained by the fact that not
all farmers interviewed were cooperative members, it may also
be that this may be due to the formulation of questions (i.e.,
asking farmers about qualitative perceptions of service access vs.
asking cooperatives more quantifiable aspects of frequency of
service provision) or a general feature of actor self-assessment in
participatory approaches.
CONCLUSIONS
In summary, there is a territorial patchwork of potential climate
impact on coffee production in NE Peru, with the greatest
vulnerability of smallholder farmers at low elevations. While this
is expected to lead to lower coffee production overall from the
region, the vulnerability of the coffee value-chain is intermediate,
because not all farmers are expected to be equally impacted and
other actors are able to buffer changes in regional supply by
diversifying their sourcing territories. Heterogeneity in impact
leads to heterogeneity in territorial adaptation requirements
ranging from incremental adaptation strategies to full adaptive
transformation away from coffee livelihoods. Such a range of
location-based needs calls for a concerted territorial strategy for
supporting the adaptation of the gamut of smallholder farmers
currently participating in the coffee value chain where local
and national providers of public services independent of the
value-chain lead efforts.
While there is room for involvement for other actors
(private companies) operating within the coffee value-chain
to contribute, the global nature of this chain uncouples their
climate risk from that of farmers within a particular location.
Such uncoupling may be a general feature of global commodity
value chains and provides little inherent commercial incentive
for companies to be important contributors to adaptation
needs of individual farmers or production territories. In this
way, climate change may exacerbate pre-existing information
and power (Grabs and Ponte, 2019; Panhuysen and Pierrot,
2020)—and hence economic, social and environmental—
asymmetries of the coffee value chain. Therefore, supporting
the adaptation of smallholder farmers requires moving
beyond a value-chain approach to a territorial systems
perspective that more intentionally involves those actors
with stronger, locally-vested interests in their adaptation, such
as government institutions. This will require strengthening
the capacities of local actors for technical and service delivery
innovation, adaptation planning, public-private cooperation,
and governance.
DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT
The datasets presented in this article are not readily available
because further data consolidation and translation is
required. Requests to access the datasets should be directed
to v.robiglio@cgiar.org.
ETHICS STATEMENT
Ethical review and approval was not required for the study on
human participants in accordance with the local legislation
and institutional requirements. The patients/participants
provided their written informed consent to participate in
this study.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
LM conceptualized, wrote, and revised the manuscript, revised
data analysis, and conceptualized figures. VR conceptualized
the original study, wrote, and revised the manuscript and
performed data analysis. MB conceptualized the original study,
conducted fieldwork, curated databases, performed original
data analysis, and tables and figures. CB conceptualized
and performed climate modeling. MR produced maps and
aided in the interpretation of spatial data and information.
All authors contributed to the article and approved the
submitted version.
FUNDING
This study was produced from work originally carried out as
part of the Proyecto Café y Clima, funded by a donor grant to
the National Coffee and Cocoa Chamber of Commerce (Camara
Peruana de Café y Cacao) and Swiss International Cooperation-
SECO via the SECOMPETITIVO program.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank all farmers, experts, cooperatives, and companies who
participated in the study, as well as the Junta Nacional de Café
and Solidaridad. Finally, we thank our colleague M. Suber who
participated in discussion of the original work.
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Morales et al. Value-Chain Support to Smallholder Adaptation
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL
The Supplementary Material for this article can be found
online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fclim.
2022.788369/full#supplementary-material
Supplementary Figure S1 | Climate suitability zones for coffee production in
study region of northeast Peru under current climate (2016) (A) and projected
future climate in 2030 (B) under RCP 6.0. For explanation of suitability classes see
Appendix 1.
Supplementary Figure S2 | Climate Sensitivity (A,C) and Adaptive Capacities
(B) of farmers affiliated vs. unaffiliated with cooperatives or other organizations.
Supplementary Table S1 | Activities that form the basis of relationships between
coffee value chain actors in NE Peru.
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