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Mutua Project: Results from the first group of coffee growers

by Aug 2, 2023Coffee0 comments

Check out the results from the first group of coffee growers of the Project Mutua – Forests and Springs, an Atlantica Coffee initiative to boost sustainability and positive impact coffee growing.

Sustainability and coffee growing go hand in hand at Atlantica Coffee through the Project Mutua. With the producers of the Matas de Minas region and together with Emater and UFV, we have completed the first capsule of the project, which has brought results to family coffee growing in the region. Check below how the action was developed in this first group.

Project Mutua – a true purpose towards sustainability

Mutua – Forests and Springs was created with the purpose of boosting sustainability in family-run coffee farming, focusing on the recovery of forests and springs on small farms.

For Atlantica, Mutua is an expression of its commitment to producers who need support on their properties to make them more sustainable. These farmers face significant challenges in their journey towards sustainability, such as the lack of financial resources to obtain international certifications, which limits their opportunities for growth in the sustainable bias of coffee farming.

Therefore, the Mutua Project plays an important role in the ecological context of coffee: that of widening access to sustainable implementations.

The chosen region: Matas de Minas

The region chosen to be the pioneer home of the Project was Matas de Minas, where about 80% of the 36,000 coffee producers own small farms with 3 to 20 hectares of coffee planted, predominantly family-based. In this region, valuable resources such as biodiversity, water, forests and springs play a crucial role in coffee life and activity. Based on this, the project focuses its actions on the preservation and recovery of forests and springs, as well as the treatment of water and domestic sewage from the properties, through integrated conservation practices.

The Mutua Project’s actions impact beyond the borders of the farms, benefiting the local community as well. With a long-term commitment, the project aims to establish a harmonious balance between coffee cultivation, the environment and the entire community.

How it works

The Mutua Project is conducted in three steps, with the help of key partnerships:

Diagnosis: teams visit the properties to identify and understand the situation of each coffee grower. The survey includes information on land use and occupation, hydrology, degree of degradation of springs and permanent preservation areas (APP), etc. This information is translated into a report accessible to the producer at any time.

Implementation: Once the diagnosis has been made, the technical team carries out the necessary implementations, which range from planting seedlings to building fountains and biodigester pits. All actions are funded by Atlantica, ensuring that producers have no expenses.

Monitoring: A key pillar of the project is the continuous long-term monitoring of the proposed improvements. This allows us to track the progress of the implemented actions, evaluate their effectiveness, identify necessary adjustments and ensure that the property is fully adherent to sustainable practices. The commitment to monitoring aims to ensure lasting and impactful results.


The Mutua Project, like the coffee cycle, is carried out biannually in groups of 15 to 20 producers, the first group has already reached significant milestones:

19 producers served
11 municipalities benefited
12,050 seedlings planted
25 springs recovered

The recovery of forests and springs is one of the main focuses of the project, due to the intrinsic link that these elements have with each other. Trees play an essential role as guardians of the water balance, helping to restore natural water cycles and promoting the conservation of water resources. This initiative recognizes the interconnection between vegetation, soil and water, seeking to ensure the health and sustainability of ecosystems.

Springs Recovery

The Caxambu Fountain was the system chosen to protect and conserve springs on coffee farms. In this system, the spring is covered and the water is channeled without harming its natural course, avoiding possible surface contamination by external agents. With the recovery of the springs, the availability of water in the soil is increased, which directly benefits the growth of native tree seedlings in the region.

Seedling Planting

To recover part of the native vegetation of the region, tree species were chosen considering the specific conditions of each property. In addition to reinforcing natural landscape features, trees help retain soil moisture through their roots, preventing erosion and rapid water runoff. Trees also play a vital role in regulating the microclimate and enhancing biodiversity by providing shade, reducing water evaporation and creating an environment conducive to the proliferation of diverse fauna and flora. Tree roots also help filter pollutants and sediments, improving the quality of water flowing from springs.

Biodigester Pits

Biodigester pits are essential for sewage treatment on properties. Designed to perform anaerobic biodigestion, these pits break down and transform organic waste, converting it into gases and liquid effluent. This decentralized treatment avoids the need for complex collection and transport infrastructures and reduces the risk of contamination of nearby water sources.

Annual Award

Participating Mutua producers who choose to market their coffee with Atlantica receive a premium of US$3 per 60kg bag. The award is conditional on the completion of all improvements proposed in the project. This action seeks to encourage sustainable coffee farming by recognizing and rewarding producers engaged in this process.

The commercialization of coffee with Atlantica is optional, and the award is only a form of incentive and gratitude for producers choosing to follow the sustainable path. In 2023, 12 producers received awards according to the volume of bags sold. The pioneer country of destination of these coffees was Argentina, with whom Atlantica maintains solid partnerships that also believe in the sustainable bias of coffee growing.


The Mutua – Matas e Nascentes Project is carried out in partnership with Emater Minas Gerais, which offers technical support for sustainable implementations, and with the Junior Forestry Engineering Company of the Federal University of Viçosa, whose students and specialist professors guide the diagnostic survey, the implementation of solutions and the monitoring of properties. The project also contributes to several UN Sustainable Development Goals, reflecting its commitment to building a fairer and more balanced future.

Producer’s word

The Mutua Project is the materialization of the commitment to open the doors of sustainability to small producers, where each action is guided by the purpose of creating a better and balanced future for all. Its results are inspiring and the journey continues in search of sustainable coffee growing, based on transparency, constancy and, above all, mutuality. United, producers, communities and the environment will benefit from this initiative, preserving and cultivating the wealth of natural resources for future generations.

“The Mutua Project is very important because it is aware of the producers and at the same time seeks to direct coffee production towards sustainability. It is a project that should be an example for other companies, since today there is no agriculture without environmental preservation.”

Enrique Natalino – Coffee grower
Project participant since: April 2022
City: Espera Feliz
Implementations made: 435 seedlings planted and 2 springs recovered.

“By funding the entire Project, Atlantica shows that it is concerned about the well-being of humanity. Today, seeing the global situation of the environment, I think we need to preserve our water sources, thinking about future generations.”

Gladstoni Brinati Morais – Coffee farmer
Project participant since: November 2021
City: Caparaó
Implementations made: 1300 seedlings planted and 1 spring recovered.

At the end of this journey for sustainability, we realized the will to transform coffee growing. Together with the producer, we have gone beyond the recovery of forests and springs. Each seedling planted, each spring recovered is a step towards a more sustainable and promising tomorrow. Mutua is an example of how coffee growing can be an agent of positive transformation. Atlantica continues to support and value initiatives that seek to balance coffee cultivation with care for the Earth.

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