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Living Income

KIT aims to contribute to a living income for farmers as the starting point for longer-term prosperity.

The majority of investments in agricultural value chains that aim to create farm-level economic and social impact often lack quantifiable, absolute targets. A baseline study, existing programme data or national statistics usually inform percentage-based goals for increasing farmers’ income. But one key question often remains:

How much should a farming family earn to achieve a ‘decent standard of life’?

Leading public and private sector organisations have made significant progress in addressing poverty in agricultural value chains. At KIT, we have been actively involved in these efforts, with a specific focus on the coffee and cocoa sectors.

Complex challenges still lie ahead due to the large gaps remaining between the current incomes of smallholder farmers and newly calculated Living Income Benchmarks. Even after positive effects of interventions are taken into account, many segments of farmers have insufficient incomes and remain unprofitable, for example due to small farm sizes or motivation and ambition factors leading to them not adopting the new practices.

KIT is a member of the Living Income Community of Practice (co-hosted by GIZ, ISEAL and the Sustainable Food Lab) and contributes to the development of official methodologies and services which support organisations to design programmes and targeted interventions that close the income gaps. These include the Guidance Manual on Calculating and Visualizing Income Gap to a Living Income Benchmark (2020).

 

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Our Living Income Services

  • Analysing and interpreting living income benchmarks

    Depending on the country and sector, we update and adapt existing benchmarks to the socio-economic characteristics of different target groups. We make detailed data available and use indicators and visualisations that drive decision making in a consistent and harmonised way.

  • Estimating actual income & calculating income gaps

    KIT has long-standing expertise in collecting primary data in various sectors and countries, working with a diversity of public and private clients and local organisations. As part of these efforts, our Impact Team digitally collects and visualizes robust quantitative and qualitative data, and draws new insights on actual income components and gaps.

  • Providing actionable advice for different farmer segments

    We use cluster analyses to identify groups of farmers based on variables such as land and family size, age, sex, motivation, ambition or profitability potential. We create strategies and scenarios for each group, looking at diversification options or off-farm income opportunities.

Related Projects & Publications

  • Cocoa household income study approach

    • Institute
    • Publication

    A sector-wide approach to assessing the living income status of households in the cocoa sector The cocoa sector has been working to deliver living incomes for cocoa farming households since 2015, but learning at the sector level aimed at achieving living incomes has been hampered by challenges in data collection and sharing. To address these […]

  • Towards more effective ways to address child labour in the cocoa sector

    • Institute
    • Project

    Child labour remains a persistent human rights violation in the cocoa sector, impacting children’s physical and mental health while depriving them of educational opportunities. The cocoa sector is increasingly responding to this issue by implementing innovative programmes, targeting the root causes of child labour, such as poverty and a lack of access to quality education. […]

  • The potential of landscape approaches for addressing child labour in sustainability programmes in the cocoa sector

    • Institute
    • Project

    KIT is working with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to map the initiatives that have taken measures to address child labour in West Africa using a landscape, or an area-based, approach. A landscape approach A landscape approach in a programme is a holistic strategy that addresses complex issues by involving all the stakeholders, recognising their […]

  • Nestlé Income Accelerator Programme (IAP)

    • Institute
    • Project

    This innovative intervention aims to tackle child labour, decrease poverty, promote diversification and push for more gender equality. The Income Accelerator Programme (IAP) is a four-year program initiated by Nestlé and six of their traders aimed at increasing the income levels of 10,000 cocoa farming households in Côte d’Ivoire while reducing the prevalence and risk of […]

  • Evaluation of the IDH Cocoa Origins Program

    • Institute
    • Project

    In 2010, the Dutch Government and cocoa and chocolate sector initially committed to reach 100% sustainable cocoa consumption in the Dutch market by 2025. The Dutch Initiative for Sustainable Cocoa expanded on these ambitions in 2020. The Cocoa Origins Program supported companies that use small and medium quantities of cocoa and supply the Dutch consumer market, […]

  • A living income for coffee farmers in Guji, Ethiopia

    • Institute
    • Project

    Measuring incomes and proposing interventions to close income gaps Until 2021, there was no research available on the income levels of Guji coffee farmers, and no living income benchmark had been established.  In a multi-year programme Fairfood is working with Trabocca, a Dutch specialty coffee trader, to bring 300 coffee farmers in Guji Ethiopia to […]

  • A machine learning tool to estimate net annual income of cocoa and coffee farming households

    • Institute
    • Project

    What is the income of farming households and does it afford a decent living standard? This is a key question to answer in the design, monitoring, and evaluation of interventions seeking to improve livelihoods of farmers at the starting points of global supply chains such as cocoa and coffee. The answer requires primary data collection […]

  • EnRoute – To Reduce the Living Income Gap and Child Labour

    • Institute
    • Project

    Poverty among cocoa farming households is still a key driver of child labour. The average cocoa farming household in West Africa earns less than one-third of the established living income needed to afford a place to live, food for the entire family, health care, and clothing and education for children, and cannot put some money […]

  • Unleashing the Potential of Cocoa Households to Earn a Living Income

    • Institute
    • Project

    The Nestlé Cocoa Plan (NCP) Elite programme aims to unleash the potential of a small selection of cocoa farmers and learn from them about how the programme can be expanded to help more farmers earn a living income. KIT assists Nestlé in understanding how successful this programme currently is and how it can be scaled up. Earning a living income is elusive for most cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire  Only a small segment of cocoa-growing households in Côte d’Ivoire earn a living income. […]

  • Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program: Impact Evaluation Ghana

    • Institute
    • Publication

    Executive Summary This report presents the findings of an impact evaluation of the Lindt & Sprüngli (L&S) Farming Program in Ghana carried out by KIT Royal Tropical Institute in 2019. Based on quantitative and qualitative methods, the evaluation covered a variety of topics in line with the program’s Theory of Change. To track change over […]

  • Guidance manual on calculating and visualizing income gap to a Living Income Benchmark

    • Institute
    • Publication

    The Living Income Community of Practice (LICoP) has identified the need for guidance to support researchers and practitioners in assessing the gap between actual farming household incomes and estimates of the Living Income Benchmark in a particular location The Living Income Benchmark is the net income required for a basic, but decent, standard of living. […]

  • Analysis of the income gap of cocoa producing households in Côte d’Ivoire

    • Institute
    • Publication

    The Living Income Community of Practice, co-hosted by GIZ, ISEAL and the Sustainable Food Lab and the GIZ Programme “Sustainable Supply Chains and Standards” are currently calculating ‘Living Income’ Benchmarks for the cocoa producing regions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The Living Income Benchmark studies estimate the net income required for a decent standard of […]

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