Farming Stories project: KAJVE - Prosperity comes in Grains

KAJVE - Prosperity comes in Grains

Mexico is one of the Top 20 countries for global coffee production. Here, 500,000 families depend on cultivating this crop for their livelihood; many of them are small producers from around 30 indigenous groups. In the southern part of the country along the Guatemalan border, Chiapas, with 51% rural population, ranks first among Mexico’s states in coffee production. However, 65% of Chiapas’ population falls below the poverty line, facing limited access to basic needs such as education, health and nutrition.

The Kajve project was born under the premise of bringing innovation to these growers while respecting the legacy of three indigenous communities of the State of Chiapas. Working together with UNESCO and partners along the coffee value chain, the project focuses on improving coffee growers’ quality of life through increasing coffee yield and quality. Farmers are taught to apply Good Agricultural Practices with culturally appropriate methods that respect community traditions. Coffee cultivation is part of the community identity of many indigenous groups in Chiapas; therefore, for any intervention to be effective, the cultural diversity and ethnic components of the community must be respected.

Moreover, these communities are already feeling the adverse effects of increasing climate volatility. In response to this, we are building on the project’s successful first leg by investigating alternative coffee cropping systems to foster their capability for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The initial study will focus on novel plantation design, combined with more efficient coffee cherry processing technology and best practices in nutrient management.



Coffee rust, a foliar disease caused by a fungus, has been present in Latin America since the 1970s. While the disease had long been manageable for growers, in recent years incidences have increased, with significant negative effects on coffee yield and quality. The threat of rust in the area is latent and the adoption of technology low. Combined with the current low world market prices, this caused a 50% decrease in national coffee production in Mexico.

Increasingly volatile climate conditions can only be expected to exacerbate smallholders’ economic challenges. In some cases, this even drives them to deforest natural ecosystems to expand plantations. Hence, best practices that increase and stabilize farm productivity and coffee quality are vital to improve smallholder livelihoods sustainably while ensuring the protection of precious natural resources.



In a baseline assessment, UNESCO characterized the value of coffee traditional farming practices in the communities in scope. Together with our partners and starting from this baseline community analysis, we are exploring the role of alternative coffee production and trading systems in improving smallholder incomes and in stabilizing the prosperity of their families and communities. This is being done considering the traditions and heritage around coffee cultivation and in alignment with the UN SDGs.

The project comprises training on Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Pest Management using educational plots, extension service with face-to-face visits to farms, support for farmers to rejuvenate coffee plantations and clean-field programs for the right management of farm waste. The training also features a strong component of environmental education, whose focus is on conserving biodiversity at the Biosphere Reserve and identifying existing water resources to reinforce production activities and the sustainable use of water. The cultural aspects were underscored through activities explaining concepts of Community Heritage, identification of cultural elements of coffee cultivation as a practice of generational transmission, inclusion of women and youth in farming practices.



rural communities involved


smallholder coffee growers reached


increase in yield at the farm level


higher price for coffee beans for farmers in the program due to improved coffee quality


field demonstration plots stablished


training sessions on Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Crop Management


farmer and field visits


long-lasting Personal Protective Equipment kits delivered to communities


collection point for empty agrochemical containers installed


SDG 1 – No Poverty

Enhancing farm income and farmer livelihood by helping them to increase yield, improve quality of coffee and facilitate access to potential customers in the food value chain.

SDG 2 – No Hunger

Together with partners, we support smallholder farmers to produce more high quality coffee beans by providing them with technical advice and plants for crop rejuvenation.

SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being

We provide customized training on responsible use of agricultural technology and Personal Protective Equipment to promote safe work on the farm.

SDG 4 – Quality Education

We promote agricultural education for farmers and their communities, increasing efforts to improve learning outcomes for people in vulnerable settings.

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Training farmer communities on the responsible use of resources and relevance of environmental protection for the future generations. Intangible cultural heritage is a living element of the community’s interaction with nature. Such interaction should aim to use resources more sustainably, making agroecosystems more resilient.

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

BASF works closely with UNESCO and partners in the coffee value chain to ensure agricultural methods that respect the community’s cultural identity and to facilitate farmers’ access to fair markets.

Milkweed is critical for the monarch butterfly throughout its lifecycle. 
The leaves provide the only food source for monarch caterpillars and the habitat where the 
adults lay their eggs.

Alas para el Campo: collaborating to protect the Monarch butterfly and other pollinators

Over the past 20 years, the Monarch butterfly population of North America has decreased significantly. Similar losses have been reported for other pollinators that are relevant to agricultural biodiversity. This is due to habitat degradation across the Monarch’s migration route and in the hibernation sites in the center of Mexico. Conservation efforts are bearing fruit, as the overwintering Monarch butterfly population in Mexico has significantly recovered. The Alas para el Campo initiative is contributing to the conservation efforts focused on the Monarch and other pollinators in Mexico and other countries of Central America and the Caribbean through the implementation of good agricultural practices as well as actions of conservation practices.



The public-private cooperation project "Alas para el Campo" was initiated in 2019 by BASF and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The objective of the project is to promote the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) on the migratory route of the monarch butterfly contributing to its conservation and that of other pollinators.

At the same time, the initiative is aimed at supporting farmers in the region and especially the families living and farming in protected areas in Mexico by implementing good agricultural practices such as the proper use and management of crop protection products.



A truly collaboration-oriented initiative, Alas para el Campo brings together farmers, business, government, academia and independent researchers to promote the care of the monarch butterfly and other beneficial organisms for agriculture. The project focuses on three action areas for sustainable impact: Good Agricultural Practices and conservation measures, communication and awareness, and capacity building.

Farmers are being trained on sustainable farming methods and the correct use of crop protection products, including the safe disposal of their empty containers. Meanwhile, refuge areas for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators are being created and maintained by them in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The results of these actions were visible in their harvests as they benefited from improved pollination. 



6 ha

forests recovered in Mexico as a refuge for the monarch



square meters of refuge area 

women farmer.png

farmers trained




tons of empty containers collected


SDG 1 – No Poverty

We support the improvement of crop quality and yield through the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Together with our partners, we have established pollinator gardens in different cities in Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean to generate awareness on the importance of pollinators.

SDG 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption

By the promotion of good agricultural practices, we are supporting the safe and responsible management of crop protection products and their waste.

SDG 15 – Life on Land

We are supporting ecosystem restoration for the care of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators through the implementation of good agricultural practices. 

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

In cooperation with GIZ, we are working with local communities and associations to establish good agricultural practices and are building partnerships with government, education and private institutions to achieve our goals for biodiversity conservation and sustainable farming.