Coffee farmers in Tanzania linked to the carbon credit market by HRNS

Coffee farmers in Tanzania linked to the carbon credit market by HRNS

March 24 - 2024

Coffee Geography Magazine

Carbon markets have emerged as a vital tool in the global fight against climate change, offering opportunities for emissions reduction while providing income security, particularly for smallholder farmers. A project led by Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) in Tanzania is fostering the adoption of agroforestry systems among coffee farmers, connecting them to the carbon credit market. This endeavor not only aids in climate adaptation and mitigation but also creates new avenues for income generation.

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), based in Hamburg, Germany, is a private non-profit foundation founded in 2005 by the family of Michael R. Neumann, an entrepreneur and investor in the international coffee business. The foundation runs field offices in Guatemala, Brazil, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Indonesia. The organization has also an office in the heart of  New York City.


Carbon credit markets assign value to actions that mitigate carbon emissions, with one credit equivalent to the reduction of one ton of CO2. By adopting activities such as agroforestry or reforestation, smallholder farmers can earn carbon credits, which can be traded internationally. This not only incentivizes emission reduction but also offers a sustainable income stream. 

Through the project "Integrated Carbon and Coffee-Based Livelihoods," in collaboration with the ACORN platform by Rabobank, HRNS aims to integrate 2,000 farming families in Tanzania's Mbinga district into the carbon market. By promoting agroforestry, the project addresses food and income insecurities while tackling soil erosion. The initiative provides comprehensive training on agroforestry practices, carbon credit mechanisms, and good agricultural practices, ensuring the sustainability of the transition.


The adoption of agroforestry systems presents numerous benefits for farmers, including increased productivity, enhanced soil fertility, and improved resilience to climate change. However, challenges such as initial investment costs and market uncertainties exist. Despite these challenges, the potential long-term benefits outweigh the risks, making carbon farming a promising approach for smallholder farmers. 

As the project progresses through its pilot phase, ongoing evaluation and monitoring will provide insights into its long-term viability and scalability.

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung implements projects and programs in the areas of production, farmer organizations, youth, environment and climate. In Uganda the foundation also implements gender programs with the aim of increasing gender equity in farming households and communities. Benckiser Stiftung Zukunft is financing a program in Uganda aiming at increasing yields by 50 percent. HRNS and Technoserve are supporting 30.000 households each. 

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung works with several private and public donors like USAID, Smuckers, Inter-American Development Bank, Nestlé, Tim Hortons, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. Projects were also implemented with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Jacobs Foundation. In a cooperation with Smuckers, HRNS worked in southern Sumatra, Indonesia. The aim of the project was to increase yields by 50 percent and to reach up to 5.000 farmers. According to Tim Hortons, HRNS supported the company in making Partnership Coffee from Central America commercially available.

Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung implements the projects of International Coffee Partners GmbH, an initiative founded by the coffee companies Lavazza (Italy), Löfbergs (Sweden), Paulig (Finland), Tchibo (Germany) and Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (Germany) in 2001. Since then Joh. Johannson (Norway) and Franck (Croatia) joined the company. 

Together with Conservation International Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung implements the Initiative for coffee&climate. The aim is to enable coffee farmers to effectively respond to changing climate conditions. In Vietnam HRNS is supporting an initiative to develop a national climate change strategy with a focus on water management.

Coffee Kids is a program of Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, located in New York City, USA with a focus on young coffee farmers.