The Enhancing Sustainability of Coffee-based Agriculture in Laos (ESCA Laos) project aims to address the main needs of coffee farmers on the Bolaven Plateau, the source of over 95% of Laos coffee. Land availability (and specifically the availability of land suitable for agriculture) in the area is limited and thus the pressure for usable land is rising. Farmers have to increase the yields and the quality of their coffee in order to improve their agriculture based income in the future. Lao coffee production is characterized by a lack of improved management techniques. The project supports the improvement of the coffee quality and farm productivity through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Post Harvest Management trainings. In addition the project trains the farmers on recording and analyzing their farm activities and developing business plans. The improvement in quantity and quality might require increased inputs to be applied by the farmers. The project will set up a system enabling the farmers to access inputs (including finance) provided by the implementing partner or third parties. The target of the project is the improvement of the coffee production of individual farmers but, to effectively organize the trainings and other services to the farmers, the project creates groups or supports existing groups and helps them to provide services to their members. The project will support the farmers and farmer groups to work together in business oriented cooperatives. By improving the quality and establishing a proper Laos supply-chain, farmers will receive a better price for their coffee. By working in business oriented group and cooperative structures the farmers will have access to additional services.
(Outspan Bolovens Ltd.)