PMCR: Mogambo Specialty Coffee and Climate Resilience
At the core of the Private Markets for Climate Resilience (PMCR) project is an enterprise-oriented market approach focused on the identification of climate resilience-enhancing products and services provided by the private sector. National teams across 6 countries have documented businesses and investments across 13 sectors, identifying knowledge services, innovative technologies, and pioneering approaches to data management, and good practices.
This is part of a series of short articles from the national teams intended to share with the broader PROADAPT audience their unique perspectives on both the challenges and opportunities confronting businesses in the face of climate change. These experiences converge on the common idea that the private sector is an active contributor to the many different solutions that can achieve climate resilience. (repost via PROADAPT)
Colombia: Mogambo Specialty Coffee and Climate Resilience
Maria Camila Acero and Carmen Lacambra @GrupoLaera
Photographs courtesy of Mogambo
Mogambo Environmental Path, is more than a farm producing single-origin coffee in Colombia. It is a botanical garden, a destination for research tourism, a living laboratory of ethnobotany, biodiversity and coffee; it is a life project.
Mogambo is also a small, formal enterprise providing permanent livelihood to at least 10 people. It was not created with the aim of being a coffee farm resilient to the impacts of climate variability, however it is. In spite of the climatic variability affecting several regions of Colombia over recent years, coffee production in Mogambo has not been affected, nor has the quality of its coffee diminished. On the contrary, through good practices and on-site research, production has remained stable and demand for its coffee continues to increase.
The initiative was born from the work of two forest engineers Luis Enrique and Leonor, who throughout their professional experience in biodiversity based sustainable development projects, work with rural communities, research into the ethnobotanical potential of endemic plants, and their hands-on experience as coffee growers, made a collection of knowledge, practices and seeds that they decided to apply in their coffee farm.
A motivation to do things differently was their concern for the progressive loss of many species of plants with great agro-industrial potential, and the degradation of ecosystems by tourism and mining developments, and by monoculture species, which in some cases are not conducive to the national biodiversity. Likewise, they were moved by the loss of ancestral knowledge from indigenous, Afro and campesinos communities in Colombia.
Luis Enrique and Leonor were given the task of planting and building a sustainable business model in which they apply their knowledge in forestry, agriculture and traditional indigenous and campesinos´ know-how; while conducting research on propagation, domestication, cultivation and sustainable use of promising plant species of current or potential use.
The terrain is a representation of the tropical landscape divided into different areas: the nursery, the Garden of Nations, Myth and Legend, essences and condiments, building materials, animal health and nutrition, palms, walnuts, timber, medicinal, dyes, waxes, soaps and fats, and crafts. All the plants along the trail are associated with coffee, plantain and citrus crops.
Currently Mogambo has partnerships with high-end restaurants, laboratories and universities in Colombia, for the research and inclusion of new species and or varieties in different businesses. The single-origin coffee, the coffee of the biodiversity, is one of Mogambo’s main products. Income is also derived from the sale of fresh organic products such as avocados and plantains, processed products such as condiments, and raw materials for cosmetics laboratories and universities.
Since the beginning, crop arrangement in biodiverse polyculture and organic agriculture have been utilized to ensure the protection of soil, water, air, and fauna (birds, reptiles, mammals, others). The use of organic fertilizers and the very diverse canopy allow for the natural regulation of temperature and plants are not affected by lack or excess of water in the soil. Furthermore, soils are not affected by erosion or, landslides and soil and water resources are preserved. This has contributed to the continued production during drought and heavy rainfall, the crops have not been affected by extreme weather or El Niño or La Niña conditions, neither by extreme heat or frosts.
The owners have calculated that if they farmed a monoculture they could produce around 15%, more coffee. However, the quality of the coffee would not be the same, and ultimately, the production of other goods such as goods for restaurants and labs, and activities such as tourism and research more than compensate for the difference.
Mogambo has been mostly self-financed, although for coffee production they have accessed credit through the National Federation of Coffee.
Mogambo is not a project of one, three, or five years; it is 30 years of seeds collection, knowledge and know-how, applied with effort and dedication to a family farm. It is neither the result of subsidies, international aid, nor of the importation of experiences from the developed world. Mogambo is an exemplary illustration of 100% private sector resilient enterprise based on research, knowledge, business formality and dedication.
Without flaunting its climate resilience, Mogambo will likely continue to produce a delicious coffee during the next 100 years, as a formal economic unit, legally constituted to produce revenue through productive activities and provision of services, in which the capital was contributed and is owned by individuals.
Private Markets for Climate Resilience (PMCR)
Private Markets for Climate Resilience is an assessment of risks and opportunities for companies and investors. This project, established by the PROADAPT program in the Inter-American Development Bank in collaboration with the Nordic Development Fund, is the first major investment by Climate Finance Institutions to systematically evaluate the potential market for climate resilience solutions in the private sector. Focusing on transport and agriculture, this initiative seeks to examine current best practices and investigate the opportunities in this emerging sector by identifying the leaders that will shape the emerging market, highlighting products, services, tools and innovative processes, creating an information platform with emerging opportunities for investment, and identifying companies that are candidates for investment.
For more information about the PROADAPT Program, please contact Svante Persson, PROADAPT Program Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank, or Leena Klossner at the Nordic Development Fund, the main funders of the private markets work.