The production of coffee is an integral part of the history and identity of Costa Rica. It also contributes 9% of the national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, generating 25% of the emissions originated by the agriculture sector. To reach the Costa Rican goal of carbon neutrality in 2021, and contribute to international climate protection efforts, the country has established a number of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs); tools that support countries in tackling climate change and finding their own path toward low-carbon development.
The NAMA Café Costa Rica is the first agricultural NAMA in the world under implementation and is an innovative collaboration effort between the public, private, financial and academic sectors. It aims to reduce GHG emissions and improve resource use efficiency at the level of both coffee plantations and coffee mills. These actions help to create the first low-emission coffee worldwide and give Costa Rican coffee producers access to new markets. In 10 years, the nationwide project aims to reach the entire coffee production area with a total investment of US$ 30 million. It also seeks to lay the groundwork for extending the initiative nationally and internationally to different agricultural systems and other sectors.
The implementation of the Costa Rican NAMA Café receives technical and financial assistance from the NAMA Support Project (NSP) “Low-Emission Coffee Costa Rica”, financed by the NAMA Facility. The NAMA Facility was established by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It provides tailor-made support for the implementation of highly ambitious and transformational NAMAs in developing countries. The NSP is implemented by GIZ in collaboration with the Costa Rican Ministry for the Environment and Energy (MINAE), the Ministry for Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the National Coffee Institute ICAFE, and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
The project supports climate-smart cultivation of coffee in Costa Rica, for instance by providing advisory services, promotion of climate-friendly coffee and through technology transfer. In addition, it facilitates access to attractive financing options for the processing companies, enabling them to switch to eco-efficient equipment and processes. The reduction in emissions certified by sustainability labels leads to higher prices and increased demand for the end product. Good practices are collated, transferred to further areas of agricultural production, and replicated in other sectors and countries.
In five years, the NSP aims to reach up to 6,000 producers on up to 25,000 ha, who apply at least 2 of the promoted technologies and practices, and up to 50 coffee mills, which apply at least 2 emission-reducing technologies.