Since 2012, CRS has been working to highlight the impacts that coffee has on water resources in places where coffee is produced. Through agriculture and water projects, we have been promoting sustainable coffee production to protect and improve water resources. Beyond field-based projects, we have also been proactive in putting water resources on the agenda of the coffee industry: we have written extensively in the Coffeelands blog and in coffee journals; we have spoken in conferences and events; we have produced several short videos; and we have contributed to the forthcoming SCAA issue brief titled A Blueprint for Water Security in the Coffeelands.
In early 2014, CRS launched Blue Harvest, a program explicitly designed to restore and protect water resources for people in the coffeelands of Central America. The program focuses on protecting watersheds that provide drinking water to downstream communities by promoting water-smart coffee production and milling practices. Blue Harvest forms part of CRS’ larger initiatives on Water-Smart Agriculture in Latin America and the new CRS Coffeelands program.
Find more details on the program here.
IMPACTS: What Blue Harvest achieves
The program delivers results and generates impacts in three areas.
[1.] Water Resource Restoration
Watersheds that provide drinking water for communities downstream are better managed, primarily by promoting sustainable agricultural practices
[2.] Improved Coffee Agroforestry Systems
Coffee farms increase production and are more resilient to pests, disease and drought.
[3.] Value Chain Management
Farmers in Blue Harvest areas increase income through value chain enrichments
ACTIVITIES: What Blue Harvest does
Blue Harvest provides technical advice in watershed management, sustainable agricultural production (including coffee), and coffee milling process.
Water governance and Community Development
Staff provides support to build the social and political processes required for integrated water resources management.
[2.] Blue Harvest Fund
The program leverages and channels investments for farms, mills, and water resource management. Funds will be specifically used to catalyze matching funds/resources from various sources, including public funds (municipal and national funds), donors, financial institutions, private funds (e.g. coffee cooperatives, coffee buyers/roasters), water users in rural and urban water systems, and farmers.
[3.] Blue Harvest and Coffeelands
The launch of the global Coffeelands program now gives us a platform to promote the principles and approaches of Blue Harvest to new watersheds, countries, and regions. As we develop new programs, we will be looking for new partners, on the ground at Origin, and across the coffee value chain. We are looking for growers, buyers, roasters, retailers, and coffee drinkers who value water, and want to commit to protecting and restoring water resources.
We want to help build relationships between people and the watersheds that provide quality water for people at origin, and excellent coffee for people everywhere. We invite you to contact us to be a part of this.
Our vision is for Blue Harvest to take root in many communities, watersheds, and regions around the world. As we expand, our goal is to find partners that will commit to places – watersheds and rivers – that are critical for water supply.
Find more Blue Harvest content on the Coffeelands blog here.