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Impact assessment and performance monitoring of sustainability interventions in Nicaragua and Honduras

Date: 01/2015 to 12/2016
Location: Honduras, Nicaragua

The overall objective of this project is the development and execution of a research plan that will generate credible and comparable data that can be used to appropriately bring about better and more informed decision-making and to align learning efforts. To achieve this goal, CIAT worked with local capacity in Nicaragua and Honduras to conduct

  • In-depth impact assessments (IA) with Committee for Sustainability Assessment (COSA) indicators to measure longer-terms effects attributed to specific sustainability interventions or investments against a control group. Where implemented, the IA set a baseline for a balanced set of key sustainability indicators and then a second round of data collection and analysis of those to observe over the course of at least two or three years and compare results with appropiate control groups. COSA provides the research instrument in the form of a vetted survey that can be adapted to local conditions as needed.
  • Training and field support for technicians on the COSA performance monitoring (PM) system. The PM survey is a simple survey related to the indicators of the impact assessment but taking only 15‒20 minutes to conduct. It serves as a project management tool that will be part of the daily work (data collection) by local supply chain agents that implement technical assistance programs.

This project developed two sub-projects for each country: “Farmer Brothers’ Direct Trade Project” in Nicaragua and “Coffee Made Happy” in Honduras.

Farmer Brothers (FB) is implementing the Direct Trade Project with three partners in Nicaragua: Peralta Coffee, J&M Family Coffee, and Aldea Global. The objective is to provide a premium to farmers enrolled in the project that they can collectively use to invest in services that can help them increase their coffee productivity and obtain social and economic benefits while reducing their environmental impacts related to coffee production. To do this, Farmer Brothers has a set of key performance indicators that it would like to improve for the farmers it works with. These include indicators related to social sustainability (training, food security, poverty, safety at work, and working conditions), environmental sustainability (garbage disposal, soil conservation, and water management), economic sustainability (market, income and quality, productivity), and overall perceptions about their social, economic, and environmental situation. The Direct Trade Project was implemented in two departments of the Central region of Nicaragua: Jinotega and Matagalpa.

The Coffee Made Happy (CMH) program started in Honduras in October 2013. Given the importance of coffee as a source of agricultural income, and the fact that yields could be higher, investing in this sector is a primary need. CMH was initially funded by Mondelez International (now Jacobs Douwe Egberts, JDE) and implemented with two Honduras-based export enterprises: Co-Honducafe and Sogimex. The program has three impact objectives: increasing net income coming from the coffee crop, reducing the environmental impact of coffee plantations, and making the coffee sector more attractive for future generations of coffee growers. Some outcome objectives are related to increasing profits from coffee, including better business skills, access to services, higher yield, and implementing good agricultural practices. Similarly, to reduce the environmental impact of the business, the program will protect sources of natural resources and improve the use of inputs (particularly agrochemicals). Finally, to make the business more attractive, the program has outcome objectives related to increased engagement (of women and youth), participation in farmer organizations, and persuasion of farmers to stay in business.

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