The Climate-Smart Family Agriculture project AFCIPRA, as part of the actions of EUROCLIMA + in Honduras, contributes to the green recovery of the country through the renovation and/or establishment of 145 hectares of coffee under agroforestry systems, that combine the cultivation of coffee with timber species, and with the improvement of its quality with the implementation of resilient productive practices.
100 producers implementing best practice
The coffee producer Fabio Vásquez García in the community of Planes of the municipality of Cabañas, department of La Paz, Honduras, is one of the 100 producers that now implement best practices to guarantee the quality of his coffee, increase carbon capture with the timber of the agroforestry system, reduce soil erosion, protect water sources and improve biological diversity in the area, thanks to the support of the project in technologies, technical assistance and training.
Vásquez has 2.5 hectares (ha) of coffee that had been affected by rust. 'The project is supporting me with the renewal of my coffee with the parainema variety that is resistant to rust, with the coffee seed I will be able to plant 1.5 apples (1 hectare) in agroforestry coffee systems in May, and I have already planted 150 timber trees of grevillea and cedar,' adds the producer.
'The focus of work in the coffee chain of the AFCIPRA project is to strengthen capacities to take care of the soil-water-forest and maintain sustainable productivity, through actions on the topics of: sustainable agroforestry (coffee-timber), Cleaner Production and promotion of specialty coffees to access the local market.' indicated Eng. Luis García Molina, AFCIPRA technician.
García highlights that in agroforestry, the project bought certified parainema coffee seed, 400,000 plants were established in plant nurseries that will be planted on about 120 hectares with agroforestry systems in the Chiflado-Guralape and El Venado basins. Likewise, the producers already have the timber in plant nurseries to establish them in the field, in May, with the arrival of the rain.
Cleaner Production (CP)
In addition, the AFCIPRA Project has supported the construction of infrastructure for Cleaner Production (CP) with three wet mills in the Río Venado micro-basin and six coffee dryers which allow the improvement of production processes.
These actions imply better bean quality and less loss in the wet and dry coffee milling process, which contributes to improved income (less loss of beans), and reduces the load of pollutants to water sources in the micro-basin. It is estimated that the improvement in the infrastructure for the treatment of wastewater from the wet processing of coffee can reduce up to 75% of the pollutant load.
Vásquez is happy and proud with the coffee dryer that the project facilitated, it allows him to give better treatment to his production. 'That dryer design had not been built here, the change has been seen for specialty coffees, before the coffee was dried in the patio,' adds the producer. Vásquez's coffee has a score of 88 in the cup of excellence, which allows him to access better prices when he negotiates its commercialisation.
This producer with 21 years of working in the coffee industry indicates that the training and technical assistance have helped them to do things differently, that the knowledge is now more advanced. “Here before, coffee was washed with lots of water, not today, with the teachings it is different, we always use water, but now there is little only to wash the coffee and I reuse it as well as the waste to produce organic compost. The project promotes us roasted and natural coffee with which no water is used”, adds Vásquez.
The producer highlights among other good practices the elaboration of the organic fertilizer that he applies on his farm using coffee pulps, honey waters and chicken manure to prepare the bocashi (fermented organic fertilizer), likewise he does not use chemicals and cleans it with a pure machete (panditas or cuma) to maintain the ground cover and that there is greater infiltration of the water.
For his part, García highlights that Cleaner Production practices begin with an adequate coffee harvest (only cherry or grape coffee is cut) so that when it reaches the pulping machine, no water is used for the process.
Likewise, in wet processing, the project promotes various CP practices and technologies such as: application of lime to regulate PH, implementation of mountain microorganisms to decompose the matter and avoid bad odors, separation of solids through the implementation of decanter piles where honey water is retained for a period of 24 to 48 hours, facilitating the separation of solids, allowing the reuse of water in pastures and even to the same coffee farm and the solids in organic fertilizers.
These CP actions promote the closure of the nutrient cycle, reduce costs and increase the economic and environmental resilience of small and medium producers.
AFCIPRA promotes the resilient production of food, in 600 families of indigenous Lenca communities, and mestizo population, under a sustainable management approach of the water resource of the El Venado and Chiflador - Guaralape basins in Honduras.
It is executed by the Dutch Development Cooperation Service (SNV) and the Association for the Integrated Management of Watersheds of La Paz and Comayagua, Honduras (ASOMAINCUPACO). Its strategic partner is the Centro Regional University Center (CURC-UNAH) and as political counterparts the Presidential Office of Climate Change of Honduras (Clima +) and the Ministry of Environment of Guatemala.