Category: Water and Natural Resources

251. SCAA 2012: The view from the coffeelands

In keeping with an annual tradition started back in 2009, today I publish my third annual preview of “don’t miss” SCAA presentations.  This year, I divide my picks into two “streams of enlightenment” — “downstream” presentations that push knowledge of origin toward the marketplace, and “upstream” presentations that bring market intelligence to farmers and agencies […]

234. Coffee, water and conflict in El Salvador

Back in November, my colleague Robyn Fieser reported here on a success story from our CAFE Livelihoods project in El Salvador – how we helped the Las Colinas cooperative comply with national environmental regulations and avoid a forced closure of its wet mill by financing the installation of a wastewater treatment system. Today, I share […]

222. CAFE success story: Water works

This post was contributed by my colleague Robyn Fieser, the Regional Information Officer for CRS in Latin America and the Caribbean. – – – – – Running a 500-acre, organic coffee farm deep in western El Salvador’s mountains has posed plenty of challenges over the years for the 89 members of Las Colinas coffee cooperative.  […]

151. Water for coffee

With SCAA right around the corner, I revive my annual lament about the exclusive focus at the show on the quality of the water that goes into your coffee.  Last year, I celebrated the water that doesn’t go into your coffee.  Smallholder cooperatives all across the coffeelands are adopting water-efficient post-harvest technologies to reduce their […]

93. “Without shade, there is no coffee”

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a group of farmers in the sun-baked department of Usulután in eastern El Salvador. These farmers live at the lower bounds of coffeelands, as low as 400-500 meters above sea level. At this elevation, the sun is relentless and punishing and water is scarce. The only hope for sustainable coffee farming is effective shade management. When one middle-aged farmer observed that the leaves fell from the coffee plants that were directly exposed to the sun, an older one in the group shook his head and offered this wisdom: “Shade is the foundation. Without shade, there is no coffee.”

86. “With coffee, we all win”

I recently heard an agronomist tell a group of farmers in El Salvador: “With coffee, we all win.”  How true.  Shade farming and other sustainable production practices deliver each of the four cardinal environmental services: carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water resource management and scenic beauty.  We have been working for years to help smallholder farmers increase […]

85. Technology for a hot planet

Farmers in El Salvador, which has few remaining natural forests, waning water resources and precious little high-altitude terrain, are acutely aware of the impacts of climate change. That’s why many are making short-term changes to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their farms and adopting water-efficient post-harvesting technology. The coffee sector in El Salvador is also investing in breeding more resistant varieties.