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Berlin Workshop:

Achieving a decent standard of living for smallholder farmers - A learning exchange on measuring and realising living income

6th and 7th December 2017

This workshop was a 2 day event centred on stimulating thought, conversation, collaboration and action towards addressing ever prevalent global poverty challenges through the concept of living income. The event focused on two main areas: 1) defining and calculating actual incomes and living income benchmarks and, 2) actions that can be taken by stakeholders to close income gaps. 

Workshop session resources

Day 1: Framing the living income conversation – From measurement to action

















Calculating the cost of a decent standard of living – exploring the options

This session focused on one of the key areas of the Living Income CoP: guidance and discussion on establishing the cost of a decent standard of living for rural households. It deliberated questions such as what is the value in calculating the cost of a decent standard of living, what approaches and data are already available and what is the experience of members of this CoP when it comes to calculating benchmarks? In particular, two specific approaches were deliberated:

      The Anker's Methodology:                                                Adaptation of poverty lines:  ​













Day 2: Using benchmarks to drive sector change – Roles and strategies





Sector conversations - Cocoa sector breakout

This session explored the current state of understanding of farmer incomes and livelihoods in the West African cocoa sector. It included a discussion of the interest and needs of cocoa sector actors with regards to living income and was presented as a panel discussion with presenters Anna Laven, Marcelo Tyszler and  Roger Bymolt (KIT), Duncan Pollard (Nestlé) and Antonie Fountain (VOICE Network).

                                                                                             Nestlé - Rural Developement Framework Report 
























Who is who in the Living Income CoP?


This session introduced the objectives and main areas of work for the Living Income Community of Practice and framed how the workshop contributes to the overall aims of the community. Browse this PowerPoint to get an overview of the workshop activities and the work of the community of practice. 

Are we talking the same language? Let’s try!


In this session the key concepts and definitions that are central to the Living Income CoP were presented including what we mean by living income, actual income and applications of a living income concept. This was to provide alignment and a backstop for conversations going forward in the remainder of the workshop.

Closing the income gap: what are possible levers and what role could different actors play? 


After two days of inspiration and in depth discussions we came back to the question of the various levers that different actors can implement and collaborate on in order to help smallholder farmers close the income gap.

Can we better manage volatility? – lessons from price management mechanisms in tropical commodities


This session shared a recent overview on tools that are being used at the supply chain and sector levels to better manage volatility and returns to farmers. What tools are being tried? Where have they reduced volatility and improved returns? What are potential unintended consequences? How might they be relevant for the cocoa sector today?

Gathering data on actual income


This session was an opportunity to go deeper into good practices for gathering and reporting farm economics data, including household income. It included presentations from Roger Bymolt (Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)), Anne de Valenca  (Wageningen University) and Dr. Levison Chiwaula (University of Malawi) on studies that involved the collection of actual income data.

Reporting back – what have we learned and what are next steps for each of the sectors?

In these two days we wanted to promote learning across sectors and during this session we had representatives from the different breakout sector specific sessions report back to all participants. This document provides some of the key discussion points that were reported back to the group from the coffee and cocoa  breakouts.

Using information to drive change – learning from the experience in the tea sector

This session took a deeper dive into one sector (tea) and one location (Malawi). It discussed how the sector is using income research to move towards achieving living incomes and how different actors are using data to drive change. It included presentations and a panel of Malawi 2020 programme representatives: Sarah Roberts (ETP), Dr. Levison Chwaula (University of Malawi), Rachel Wilshaw (Oxfam), Stefan Feldbusch (OTG) and Sangwani Hara (Tea Association of Malawi).

Sector conversations - Coffee sector breakout

This session explored the interest and needs of coffee sector actors with regards to living income. It served as an opportunity to identify priority regions, the role and potential interest of national sustainability coffee platforms, and studies that can help understand the income gap. Inputs to the session were provided by Alina Amador (Fairtrade), Cornel Kuhrt (Tchibo) and Tobias Volgt (Neumann Found.).

Working towards increasing farmer incomes – the journey


In this session, we heard from different organisations on their strategies to close the income gap. We learned about their journey and the role that measurement of actual and living income plays as part of their efforts. This involved a panel discussion with Francesca Brkic (The Body Shop), Carla Veldhuyzen (Fairtrade) and Samuel Adimado (Kuapa Kokoo).

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