Blue Harvest

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 SCA Sustainability Council 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 coffeelands. The program started in Central America focusing 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 CRS Coffeelands program.  Since, the program has been expanding to other regions in Latin America.

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, improved water governance, increased investments in improving agricultural practices and improving water systems, and increased policy influence around integrated water resource management.

[2.]  Improved Coffee Agroforestry Systems

Coffee farms increase production and diversification, and are more resilient to pests, disease and drought.  Water-smart agricultural practices are applied to improve water infiltration.

[3.]  Value Chain Management

Farmers in Blue Harvest areas increase income through value chain enrichments.


ACTIVITIES: What Blue Harvest does

[1.]  Services

Blue Harvest provides technical advice in watershed management, sustainable agricultural production (including coffee), and coffee milling process that improve water efficiencies and wastewater treatment.

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 are 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 CRS Coffeelands program provides a platform to promote the principles and approaches of Blue Harvest to new watersheds, countries, and regions. As we develop new programs, we are 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.



Blue Harvest was launched in 2014 in Central America with generous support from Keurig Green Mountain. In early 2016, the Inter-American Development Bank expanded funding through its SAFE Platform.  Find more details on the Blue Harvest program in Central America here.

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.

We want to help build relationships between the market, 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.



Find more Blue Harvest content on the Coffeelands blog here.