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Enabling opportunities to diversify farmers’ livelihoods: Blending adaptation and mitigation practice

This blog explores the potential for farmers to use biogas not only for coffee roasting, but also for expanding other small businesses, thereby increasing their adaptive capacity.
Multiple Authors
Ricardo  Maria


According to the World Energy Outlook 2016,1.2 billion people (16% of the global population) are still without access to electricity. This lack of energy access inhibits the provision of basic services such as clean water, sanitation and healthcare, and of reliable cooking, lighting, heating, and telecommunications services, thus impinging on communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change. Moreover, 2.7 billion people still rely on traditional solid biomass for cooking. This contributes towards indoor air pollution, causing health issues that both increase vulnerability and result in 3.5 million deaths annually.

At the COP22 held in Marrakech, Morocco in December 2016, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) hosted a side event on bioenergy. In her opening remarks, Dr Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) mentioned that the Sustainability Development Goals cannot move ahead unless we involve everyone. She wants to make bioenergy more clean and affordable for the 2.9 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to clean, affordable energy. To do this new evidence and data will be needed to bring bioenergy models to the market and thereby put bioenergy on the broader energy agenda.

The affordable bioenergy will contribute to SDG 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts which require a significant increase in clean and renewable energies. It is also in direct support of SDG 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Small-scale bioenergy innovations can also directly contribute to livelihood-based climate change adaptation by improving communities’ resilience through clean, and sustainable fuel.

Bioenergy in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the bioenergy sector is dominated by biodiesel from crude palm oil, which leaves other resources, such as biogas, behind.

Currently there are only limited biogas programmes in Indonesia. One of the programmes promoting biogas is called BIRU, which had 18,590 digesters over Indonesia during the period 2010-2015. Compared to the five million cow and pig farmers in Indonesia that have the potential to generate biogas, the BIRU digesters are still in very small number.

Programmes such as BIRU also tend not to work very well because they are subsidized by the government, and people will not use the biogas from the government if it is not free. Even those people who already have a digester don’t always utilise it, as they prefer to use traditional methods for indoor cooking despite the health risk from the smoke produced from the fire wood. This lack of demand for biogas is one of the key obstacles for further expansion of this fuel.

Generating demand via the coffee sector

To generate demand for biogas stakeholders need to implement sustainable win-win solutions by finding and building relationships with industries that can potentially utilise the biogas.

One option is the coffee industry, which has an advanced value chain that could be integrated with the biogas systems in Indonesia. Coffee is also the second biggest commodity in the world after oil and Indonesia was the world’s fourth-largest coffee producer and exporters in 2014, according to data from the International Coffee Organization. Indeed, there are many coffee festivals held to celebrate the relations between roasters, baristas and coffee owners. However, one importantly base element is often forgotten, which is the coffee farmers who produce the coffee beans. The farmers are potential users of biogas in the coffee roasting process.

The extensive demand for coffee presents an opportunity for farmers to play a significant role in promoting clean energy through a biogas-coffee concept, where biogas is used to power the roasting process. Indonesia’s domestic consumption of coffee has been growing and rose by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.7 percent in the years 2011-2014, indicating a sustained demand for coffee. A biogas-coffee concept would support the Ministry of Trade programme to make Indonesia become the primary exporter for roasted coffee beans in Asia, since the concept supports farmers to practice roasting as post-harvesting process. This means that roasted coffee beans can be produced in higher volumes, allowing farmers to better support the government programme to increase coffee bean exports, which have recently (2012-2015) been in decline.

The Biogas-Coffee concept

The biogas-coffee concept promotes use of bioenergy such as biogas based on a value added approach throughout the coffee supply chain. The biogas, including methane is harvested using anaerobic digestion technology from agricultural waste, primarily manure. An abundant supply of agricultural waste in Indonesia makes biogas an excellent renewable energy source for rural areas. It includes residual waste from coffee production such as coffee cherry husk which can also be used for biogas in circular way. This practice has been done in Indonesia together with majority biogas from manure. There is a large supply of animal manure available for biogas production nearby coffee farms because farmers used to apply mixed crop-livestock farming.

An overview of the Biogas-Coffee concept business model

Key Messages

It is not difficult to source biogas technology. BIRU programmes in partnership with the government and private sector are currently expanding their effort to deliver the biogas to the last mile in order to enable local farmers to increase their adaptive capacity.

Biogas acts as a means of waste alleviation and management, preventing pollution, and enabling a healthy environment for farming communities. The biogas produced from anaerobic digestion can be used in this concept with manure as main feedstock, since this technology is already widely distributed. Bioslurry can also be produced as a side product of the biogas, and can be used as an organic fertilizer on the coffee plantation. A positive impact of this approach is that it reduces reliance on artificial fertilizers, resulting in more sustainable agricultural practice. With the help of the coffee community to increase demand, the concept can make biogas more accessible and make a real, positive impact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The biogas-coffee concept is a promising transition pathway for climate change adaptation and mitigation. There is great potential for farmers to use biogas not only for coffee roasting, but also for expanding other small businesses, thereby supporting the advancement of the energy-agriculture nexus in Indonesia. In terms of adaptation, the biogas-coffee has the potential to be a win-win solution by enabling rural farmers to diversify their livelihoods and thus escape poverty. At the same time, it also will support green growth nationally. By combining the biogas element with a sound transition to a resilient crop such coffee, the biogas-coffee concept provides a solution for blending climate change adaptation and mitigation by supporting an enabling environment and increasing adaptive capacity through protecting the livelihoods of communities.

The biogas-coffee concept can lead farmers towards using climate-smart agriculture practices that have lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower agricultural waste generation, lower water consumption, and that can be considered as ‘organic’ practices.‘s “” project is aiding farmers to be more sustainable by using natural processing and post-harvest techniques instead of full wash processing, aiding them to produce good quality green coffee beans while using less water. This project promotes the biogas-coffee concept, and shows farmers how it can be integrated with the other sustainable processing, drying and roasting practices that allow farmers to produce/develop “green”, fairtrade, organic and eco-friendly products, for which there is a large and growing market, and which customers consider of higher value. This approach secures a better livelihood for the coffee farmers, as in-demand higher value end products help ensure higher steady incomes for farmers.  

By mastering roasting technologies and increasing the potential export of high-value roasted coffee, the biogas-coffee concept provides added value for, and supports synergy between the biogas and coffee industries value chains. Such a developmental shift could boost explorts and thus livelihoods, from farmers to industry and retail services, and the potentially increase if Indonesia becomes known for quality, sustainable coffee, offering a significant added value to the nation’s economy. As such, this concept not only promotes the use of a renewable energy source in biogas, but it also helps the coffee industry, which is included in the priority sector of the Indonesia Main Development Plans for 2015-2035, to create an improved business environment.


This blog was written by Ibnu Budiman & Ivan Bobashev, Researcher and Intern in

Suggested citation:

Budiman, I. and Bobashev, I. (2017) Enabling opportunities to diversify farmers’ livelihoods: Blending adaptation and mitigation practice. Badung, Bali. On weADAPT, the Collaborative Platform on Climate Adaptation. Accessed [date] from

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