coffee farmer in Guatemala

Environmental Sustainability

Smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs in the developing world are among those most affected by climate change -- yet they are often the least equipped to protect against it. Without resources to combat threats like volatile weather patterns, worsening natural disasters, and crop and livestock diseases, these small-scale producers face lower incomes and higher risks as they struggle to earn a good living. 

By training these farmers and entrepreneurs in climate-smart practices and working to improve environmental sustainability all along the supply chain, TechnoServe helps these enterprising individuals build the resilience they need to withstand an increasingly challenging environment. We apply a “green growth” approach that encourages smallholder farmers, small and growing businesses, and other market actors to transition away from a “business as usual” mindset where environmental and societal benefits are sacrificed for economic growth. We then empower market actors to aspire to a model where inclusivity and environmental stewardship grow along with the economy.

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Our Work in Environmental Sustainability

As part of TechnoServe’s business approach to environmental sustainability, we work not only to strengthen the resilience of the farmers, entrepreneurs, and businesses that operate within a market system, but also contribute to the overall sustainability of that system.

We do this by working with market actors to increase their productivity and incomes while providing the tools and connections they need to cope with both short-term and longer-term climate threats. We help them reduce poor management practices that contribute to environmental degradation and climate change, and identify new, innovative opportunities for wealth creation. For instance, we train smallholder farmers on climate-smart practices that improve their resilience to the effects of changing weather patterns, improving their crop yields and incomes. 

TechnoServe also supports farmers and small businesses to improve the health of their local environment, guiding them on tree planting, soil erosion prevention, organic practices where feasible, nature-based solutions to address wastewaster from coffee processing centers, and many other environmentally sustainable techniques. In addition, TechnoServe works with policymakers, government institutions, and other stakeholders to create a system where environmental stewardship is a critical and attainable aspect of a healthy market system.

Who Benefits

Smallholder farmers

When farmers apply practices that improve the health and productivity of their crops, they are better able to withstand climate-related challenges, improving their overall economic and social well-being. Our work in this area has shown that farmers can even increase production, and their incomes as a result, in spite of short-term environmental shocks. In addition, our work to broker relationships between farmers and other market actors expands access to improved seed varieties, technologies such as drip irrigation, and organic inputs that can help build resilience to long-term changes such as drought and heat.

Local businesses

TechnoServe works with processing firms to ensure they are able to provide buyers with the highest quality and volume of product without perpetuating a damaging cycle of natural resource mismanagement and contamination. We help them to procure and use cost-saving technologies that reduce their environmental footprint, as well as develop and market products that promote a circular economy, such as fertilizer, fuel, and food products made from agricultural byproducts.


Unsustainable environmental practices, like failure to treat wastewater from coffee wet mills or indiscriminate use of fertilizer and pesticides, can negatively impact whole communities. TechnoServe works with farmers, processors, and communities to develop solutions that amplify economic benefits for farmers and small businesses while maintaining or improving environmental standards in the areas where they work.

Climate-Smart Agriculture in India

In the next 30 years, the world’s farmers will need to double food production in order to feed a growing population. TechnoServe is working to help smallholder farmers in Madhya Pradesh, India. to improve their productivity and resilience – generating higher incomes and better access to nutritious food for farming families – while minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture through climate-smart agricultural practices.