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Cooperation with FAO in Central America

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From left to right: Mauro García, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, and Jose Valls Bedeau, FAO, signing and shaking hands

 

Guatemala City, March 8th, 2017 - Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, coffee&climate´s implementing agent, forms a partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization to strengthen the Guatemalan coffee sector by promoting agro-ecological and climate change adaptation practices developed within the c&c initiative.

The effects of global climate change are becoming more prevalent from lower precipitation levels, to higher indices of pest and diseases.  In 2013, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras declared coffee rust a national emergency. Not only were coffee-farming families severely affected, but the entire economy of the countries experienced a serious set-back.  Anacafé (the National Coffee Institute of Guatemala) estimated that over 70% of the plants were affected, resulting in a loss of approximately 75,000 jobs. The areas of Huehuetenango, Chiquimula, Chimaltenango and Santa Rosa were among the most affected.

Enabling the farmers to respond to the challenges posed by climate change is vital to stabilizing the economies of the country and ensuring the livelihoods of thousands of smallholder producers sustaining the coffee sector. Improved cultivation practices (cover crops, grafting of coffee plants, shade trees, diversification, etc.) play an essential role in this.

The agreement specifies a collaboration of two years. In this timespan, the two organizations want to join their forces in the field, assess and further develop approaches and train extension agents and farmers in Huehuetenango, Chiquimula, Chimaltenango and Santa Rosa. While HRNS shares their expertise in the coffee & climate methodology, FAO will disseminate the use of agro-ecological management practices and implement their SAT CAFÉ tool, (used to track different coffee pest and diseases present throughout the regions). In this way, both HRNS & FAO will significantly expand their know-how, substantially augmenting the capacity in supporting farmers in response to climate challenges. Experiences will be shared with the coffee&climate toolbox.

Pablo Ruiz, c&c coordinator in Trifinio said: “Climate issues have become a matter of great concern within the Guatemalan coffee sector. Therefore the engagement of relevant stakeholders such as FAO´s expertise in agriculture and intervention on the ground through a systematic approach are essential to address climate hazards and reduce the impacts within coffee production. We need to get better and faster at enabling farmers to adopt efficient coping strategies and addressing climate change. We hope to find ways of extending the partnership with FAO also to other locations where coffee&climate is active.”

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