Sep 8, 2021

GlobalGiving report September 2021

GlobalGiving Report September 2021

Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico. (29075)

Moving from shade coffee plantations to an agroforestry system

Dear Donors

In the last report, we communicate you that we were going to make a transition in our work. We want you to know, the reason of this transition.

Six years ago, after the rust infestation in coffee plantations, project participants felt that it was necessary to diversify farms to increase biodiversity and also to increase the species that supplement food and income. In this way, the habitats for the local fauna and flora are expanded, the environmental services offered by a diversified productive system enlarge, and the dependence on coffee as the only source of income is broken. 

Since then, year after year, thanks to the support of numerous donors, various fruit trees and timber trees have been planted in coffee plantations. One of the results of the evaluation we did of the 2020 work was to make an assessment of the diversity in the farms at this moment and the uses that are being given to introduced trees.

In this trimester we carried out a diagnosis and the results show that within the farms there are 18 forest species, several of them with good quality wood to make furniture. There are also 12 different species of fruit trees. The harvest of most of the fruit trees has already begun and they are used for family consumption; therefore, the diet is enriched with vitamins and minerals. As for forest trees, they are mostly also used for boards, poles, to improve the production unit and housing. As well, these trees are also used for firewood to be used in the wood-saving stoves that were introduced in this project.

In this assessment, it was also found that there is no forest culture that allows the use of forest species that already exist on farms and in the community. There are six elements that do not allow to develop this line of work: 1) It is not known how to calculate the amount of wood of a tree, and, therefore, there are no elements to put a price on a standing tree. Some families have lost customers interested in buying them. 2) There is no experience in the demolition of trees without affecting the coffee bushes. 3) The price at which they sell the wood is low because they do not have the documentation established by the forestry authority. 4) There is no clarity about the woods appreciated by buyers. For example, there is confusion between white cedar, Cupressus lusitánica; pinkcedar, Cedar Acrocarpus fraxinifolius; red cedar, Cedrela odorata and walnut cedar, Juglans pandriformis. 5) There is no experience in collecting seed from trees to make nurseries. 6) There are non-timber species such as the plama camedor that do very well in certain niches and have a good market: there are just a few people that cultivate them

Based on this assessment, training in the following issues is proposed for the coming months:

1.                   How to calculate the wood of a standing tree

2.                   Differentiate the trees and their types of wood and their prices

3.                   Official requirements for harvesting wood in small quantities

4.                   How to cut timber trees without affecting coffee plants

5.                   Seed harvesting and forest nurseries

In the following report we will share the progress in these issues

May 12, 2021

cofee price and nativ bees

GlobalGiving Report May 2021

Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico. (29075)

We will inform our appreciable donors the activities done with de coffee groups in this first quarter of the year. We will talk about three topics: 1) We are preparing a change of focus of the project, 2) the division of honeycombs of native bees and 3) visibility of coffee-growing women.

Transiting from the shady coffee farm to an agroforestry system

From the evaluation of the work from last year, one of the agreements with the participants in the project was to incorporate the forest dimension into the shaded coffee farms, in this way, we will move towards an agroforestry system. In the next report we will share the activities we carry out in this transition and the implications of this process.

Division of honeycombs of native bees to increase pollination

In the months of March and April we reviewed honeycombs, and one of the topics was to analyze the importance of pollination not only for the life of plant species, but also for human life. Colleagues commented on how the number of wild nests has decreased over the years due to theft to obtain virgin honey. In this way, the group of companions that make up the groups of native bees decided not to harvest honey this season and concentrate on the division of the nests that they have in their custody to increase the populations of native bees in their region so the pollination of the natural vegetation and crops of the region increases.

In the nest inspection, the following activities were carried out: a) nests were divided, b) raises were added to the boxes to increase the space for honey and pollen reserves, c) nests were changed to new boxes to improve their handling and d) propolis was harvested for the production of propolis tincture to use it in the health care of the family.

Making women's work visible

This quarter ended the coffee cutting season; after months in which many of the family members were daily cutting the cherry from the coffee plant. The months of coffee cutting are very intense; it combines the excitement of seeing the product of the family's work, the expectation of how the price will be when they take it to sell; economic constraints also ends; the payment of debts begins... It's time to plan: How much coffee will be sold in cherry to have money to fund the processing of the grain? How much of the cherry production will bien processed? How much dried coffee will be kept waiting for the price to improve? To whom the coffee will be sold to have a good price? ... These decisions were previously made by producers, i.e. men heads of families. Now, women have managed to make themselves seen as one more member of the family with very important contributions. Women's voices are increasingly been heard in these strategic decisions.

On this subject, the Bulletin "El Cafetalero" - a newsletter that is read in a wide region - published the result of a reflection made with men and women from the groups of three communities about what should be a fair price for coffee. In the beginning, in the three groups they agreed to propose that, in order to pay for all the work invested in the farm, the price should be between 13 and 15 pesos per kilogram of cherry coffee. However, in this year, the payment for the 1 kg of cherry coffee did not go over $9.50.

In the workshop, no one ever remembered when the price reached 15 pesos a kilo of cherry coffee. They mentioned that, in recent years, the price of coffee did not go over 10 pesos per kilogram.

We were concluding that the price paid year after year for coffee does not cover the work that producers do within the farm, when some female colleagues stressed that the price of coffee is also not covering all the care work that women do, without any remuneration, so that their husbands and their family can work, study and live their lives... For men and women these two approaches were very important: THE PRICE OF COFFEE DOES NOT COVER THE WORK THAT MEN DO IN THE PRODUCTION OF COFFEE NOR THE WORK OF THE WOMEN THAT FEED AND GENERATE THE CONDITIONS TO ENSURE THE WORK OF THE FAMILY

May those who read these lines also be moved and seek to always buy coffee from small coffee producer organizations. Let's exercise the power we have as consumers!!!

We greatly appreciate the support you have given to our project.

Jan 11, 2021

GlobalGiving Report jan2021

Gobal Giving Report January 2021


Dear Donors

In this quarter, the activities of the project “Sustainably facing coffee rust threat in Mexico. (29075)” consisted of working on food security as one of the pillars of the family economy.

Years ago, in the central zone of Veracruz, was common that peasant families used their patio or ‘solar’ for food production, medicinal plants, and for raising poultry. With the rise of coffee prices, almost all productive spaces were occupied by coffee activities. Also, the work time of the different members of the family were concentrated in coffee production. This is how gradually all the diversification of patios has been displaced, turning these spaces into patios for drying coffee grain and into areas to process coffee.

However, with the fall or coffee prices and with the infection of rust in coffee plantations, many families are reincorporating food production into their family economy.

In this quarter, we concentrated our activities on responding to this interest of coffee families in three lines of work: raising laying hens, strengthening the vegetable garden and building energy-saving stoves.

Laying chicks: With your donations, we bought laying chicks and paid technical assistance so the hens have a protein and calcium enriched diet to ensure good growth and favorable conditions for laying.

Hence the planting of mulberry trees is being promoted as a source of protein for the hens. The incorporation of corn with limestone powder mixed with commercial food is proposed also. Over time, new ways of enriching the diet with local products will be promoted so that families stop buying industrial food.

Vegetable Garden: In this quarter we worked on three elements that have hindered the constant production of vegetables throughout the year. The type of seed, the sowing of seedlings and the protection of the garden in the rainy season.

While we manage to produce our own seed, we bought seed from a new supplier, hoping to have a higher germination rate. Regarding seedlings, sowing is being tested in medium containers with a rich substrate, placed in trays with a water source that allows watering the seedlings by capillarity (from below). In this way, irrigation will not mistreat the small leaves that are unfolding. With this system, the substrate is kept with the necessary humidity for the growth of the seedling and transplantation to the cultivation bed is carried out when the seedling is larger and stronger. (See photo below)
Finally, food safety requires good and healthy sources of heat to prepare food. The wood-saving stoves that have been built for five years are still in high demand. At the end of the year, 30 new saving stoves were built. Now 309 saving stoves have been built in this project.
In this case, the women proposed a new adaptation to increase the efficiency of the stove. We hope to increase firewood savings, which so far have been 30% compared to the open stove that are commonly used. In the next report we will have the results or this adaptation. 
We greatly appreciate those who have supported these activities to take place. This project is allowing families from three communities to improve their living conditions

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