Directly-managed farm


Our farm is managed directly,
which makes it possible to tackle a variety of challenges.
We are showing the world our good practices in Hawaii.

At UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Farm, we are working to achieve sustainable farming with minimal environmental impact.
The challenges we are tackling include introducing farming methods tailored for climate change and quantifying CO2 emissions.

Earning GLOBALG.A.P. certification

  • At the end of 2022, UCC Hawaii earned certification under GLOBALG.A.P. Crops for Processing Standard in recognition of sustainable production activities at the company’s directly-managed Kona coffee plantations. UCC is the first Japanese company and one of the only plantations in the world to receive this designation. GLOBALG.A.P. certification is expected to confer numerous benefits, among them greater confidence from consumers and business partners, higher productivity thanks to well-defined production processes, motivation among employees, and a greater awareness of risk management.

    About GLOBALG.A.P. certification
    GLOBALG.A.P. stands for Good Agricultural Practices. GLOBALG.A.P. certification verifies that farm production meets this set of international standards.

Current Initiatives

  • Shade Farming

    We began incorporating shade farming methods in 2020.
    The common practice in coffee cultivation in Hawaii is to grow coffee without shade trees. The directly managed plantations are now experimenting with the introduction of shade trees in anticipation of the negative impact of rising temperatures due to climate change on productivity.

    What is shade farming?
    Shade farming is a method of farming in which coffee trees are cultivated under the shade of taller trees (known as shade trees). In addition to ensuring healthy cultivation by protecting sun-sensitive varieties from strong, direct sunlight, planting a variety of shade trees helps encourage biodiversity on the farm.

  • Renovation

    We are currently carrying out a planned replanting of the coffee trees on the farm. Since Hawaii is a lava-based island created by underwater volcanic activity, the farm's soil contains a large proportion of lava rock.

    Before the coffee seedlings are planted, we ensure more hospitable cultivation conditions by removing the lava and making large-scale improvements to the soil.

    Following soil improvements, new seedlings are then planted.

  • Wet Mill Replacement

    In 2022, UCC upgraded its wet milling equipment in order to boost the quality and work efficiency of its coffee cherry processing lines.
    These equipment upgrades contributed greatly to labor cutbacks and streamlining, quickening our fruit removal (pulping) and foreign material removal processes while automating transport between processes and other key steps. The new setup also brings added precision to every aspect of the process, ultimately yielding a higher-quality final product. Careful equipment design—such as meticulous height placement of the cherry intake port, for example—makes work easier on operators as well.

    The new system also consolidates all processing waste at a single location and composts it (see right picture), generating organic fertilizer to be returned to the plantation, thus greatly enhancing the sustainability of UCC’s farming activities.

  • Other initiatives are now underway to further grow coffee's potential

    The company has been taking on a variety of cultivation and processing initiatives in an effort to achieve a form of coffee production that generates innovative forms of added value.

    1. Honey coffee: Coffee cherries are harvested and peeled before undergoing a yeast-driven anaerobic (oxygen-free) fermentation treatment. This results in a coffee with sweet fruit notes derived from the coffee cherry pulp (see left picture).

    2. Barrel aged coffee: Kona coffee is placed in rum barrels and aged for several months, imparting the coffee with sweet notes of rum for a distinctive, delightful hint of extra flavor.

    3. Laurina coffee: UCC cultivates Laurina, a special variety with a caffeine content about half that of regular coffee beans.

Use of remote satellite sensing technology

  • Aiming to establish sustainable farm management methods using satellite images, in 2021 we applied to join the Cabinet Office's Advanced Satellite Data-based Model Demonstration Project in collaboration with Kokusai Kogyo Co. Ltd.

    Though the project has ended, we intend to continue utilising this technology for farm management. (To Release Link)

    About Remote Satellite Sensors
    Remote satellite sensors analyse information acquired from sensor-equipped satellites. Using this technology, it is possible to understand cultivation status and crop quality in remote areas.

    What we learned and expect going forwards with this technology
    ① Analysing satellite photos allowed us to decide fertilizer timing and select target areas. Using this technology makes it easier to manage farms remotely, and we expect it will lead to improvements in production efficiency.
    ② By combining satellite image analysis with shade farming methods, we can evaluate the amount of CO2 absorbed by shade trees. We expect that using the analysis results to plan shade tree planting will help address climate change.
    ③ Being able to collect information remotely allows us to reduce employee trips and travel-related CO2 emissions.

Initiatives with Producer Countries
- From Coffee Cultivation to Cup