Belo Horizonte/Amsterdam, September, 2013. UTZ Certified and the government of Minas Gerais, Brazil have consolidated a long-term collaboration agreement at the International Coffee Organization anniversary event in Belo Horizonte. The alliance, which relies on the alignment of the UTZ Code of Conduct and the Certifica Minas Café certification standard, a Brazilian certification scheme, will benefit over 1, 800 Minas Gerais’ coffee-farming producers by facilitating them access to international markets through the UTZ Certified’s network.
Since 2011, the government of Minas Gerais, through the Secretariat of Agriculture and UTZ Certified have worked together to find better ways of promoting the value of sustainable Brazilian coffee internationally. In the past two years, Certifica Minas Café (CMC) and UTZ have aligned their Codes of Conduct and defined key areas of cooperation. As a result, holding a CMC certificate today is equivalent to the first year of compliance with the UTZ Certified Code of Conduct certification.
The UTZ/Certifica Minas Café partnership will allow smallholders to align their agricultural practices to an international recognized certification scheme, establish internal control systems and have access to UTZ training materials into Portuguese. In addition, farmers will be able to register their coffee production in the Good Inside Portal (GIP), UTZ’s traceability system. The GIP tracks coffee through the entire supply chain and makes sustainable sourced beans available to a wide network of international buyers.
“Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, and Minas Gerais is the largest producing region in the country. Therefore, partnering with organizations such as UTZ Certified strengthens our capacity to professionalize smallholders while marketing their production, ” said Emiro Nascimento, Secretary of Agriculture in Minas Gerais. “The UTZ/Certifica Minas Café partnership might work as a model to follow for effective collaboration, ” he concluded.
The UTZ/Certifica Minas Café alliance is the first one in its type and marks a milestone in the way voluntary standards align with national and regional certification schemes. This partnership organizes smallholders into groups as a way to recognize family-based farming communities, and it is expected to engage them in accomplishing the four-year UTZ coffee program.
“In 2012, 42% of the total UTZ certified coffee came from Brazil, which makes the country key for accomplishing our long term goal of making sustainable agriculture the global norm, ” said Han de Groot, UTZ Certified Executive Director. “We are confident that the UTZ/Certifica Minas Café partnership is going to support smallholders in their commercial journey to international markets while establishing better farming practices for people and the planet.”
UTZ started operations in Brazil in 2002 and has been promoting its program in all coffee regions for Arabica and Robusta, having more than 650 certified estates in 120, 000 hectares of coffee in the country. Today, Brazil is the largest UTZ certified coffee producer and counts for almost a third of the total amount of UTZ certified coffee.
By the end of 2012, the UTZ certified coffee purchases increased by 38%, selling more than 180 000 tons in over 62 countries. During the same year the Coffee Program reached out over 160 000 smallholders, 700 farms/estates and more than 370 000 workers.
About UTZ Certified
UTZ Certified is a program and label for sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea. Our mission is to create a world where sustainable farming is the norm. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of people and the environment. Through the UTZ program farmers grow better crops, generate more income and create better opportunities while safeguarding the environment and securing the earth’s natural resources. UTZ Certified works with a strict Code of Conduct for growing coffee, cocoa and tea, verified by independent third parties. More information can be found on www.utzcertified.org
UTZ Coffee Program: https://www.utzcertified.org/
About Certifica Minas Café
Certifica Minas is a governmental certification program of Minas Gerais, which is executed by the Agency of Technical and Rural Assistance (EMATER) and by the State Institute of Agriculture (IMA), under the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. The Certifica Minas certification program seeks to professionalize producers through rural technical support. One of its programs is Certifica Minas Café, a certification program for coffee farmers in Minas Gerais, which aims at consolidating new markets.