Monday, May 14, 2012

Keeping our daily coffee: the farmers in Peru adapting to climate change

Matilda Lee in the Ecologist: Coffee connoisseurs will tell you that in Peru, the world's seventh largest coffee grower, the high altitudes, Pacific Ocean winds and alternating periods of rain and sunshine provide the perfect growing conditions for the delicate Arabica coffee bean. Coffee growing is a central part of life for the 6,600 smallholder coffee farmers who make up the Cepicafe cooperative in the northern Sierra Piura region. Here, farmers tend to small plots of up to five hectares, their land and shade-grown coffee farming traditions passed on generation after generation.

...Ninety per cent of the region's coffee is for export, which means the implications on the global market, were unlikely to go unnoticed. The question is how international coffee buyers are prepared to respond to climate change related impacts on the world's second most traded commodity after oil.

...According to the Smallholder Coffee Association (Junta Nacional de Café), there are around 150,000 coffee smallholders in Peru. Everything from coffee picking, sorting and milling is done by hand. A radical departure from tradition such as the Brazilian method of sun grown coffee on large plantations using chemical fertilisers and heavy machinery, is neither possible nor desirable. Coffee is a quality market, and being organic smallholders with a hand picked premium coffee bean helps ensure differentiation in a competitive market. Luis Torres, Cepicafe's Project Manager on AdapCC, says, ‘We can't compete with Brazil in quantity but we know our quality is good.' Vice President Espinoza refers to Peruvian coffee's unique ‘aroma of justice' because of its link with community development....

Peruvian coffee beans, shot by Annerella, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: