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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
The title of this post was not lifted from a greeting card. Rather, it was my travel itinerary on my recent visit to Honduras, which took me from the vibrant coffee town of Gracias (Thank you) through Esperanza (Hope) to Marcala in the department of La Paz (Peace). The visit was designed, as I have […]
Yesterday I reflected on the idea of “water for coffee.” Today: “coffee for water.” We all know that water is important for the quality of your coffee. But what does your coffee do to improve the quality of water in the coffeelands? As it turns out, a lot.
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 […]
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.”
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 […]
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.
Last week I suggested that the best water may the water that does not go into processing your coffee. Today I am here to say that if you must use water in the milling process, make it rainwater!