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Jun 28, 2019

Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust, June 2019 Report

Dividing a melipona nest
Dividing a melipona nest

During last quarter, in Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust in Mexico Project, we have focused our efforts mainly in a) the processing of coffee beans to make them available on the market, b) the division of native bees nests, c) experiencing the drying of fruits from the region and d) introducing a new cosmetic alternative product to be produced by women groups.

Coffee beans processsing. Quality coffee process was completed. It was a very short harvesting season due to the high temperatures. Processed coffee samples are being analyzed to assess their quality and to identify areas that may influence to improve the quality of the coffee in the next cycle 2019/2020.

Solar dehydrators. Tests are underway to dry regional fruits currently left in the field, to take advantage of the installed capacity during the season where there is no coffee. We have tested dried banana, mango, mamey, turmeric, ginger and tomato. Dehydrated products which have had greater acceptance are mango, banana, turmeric and ginger. However experimental drying and shelf tests are continuing to improve the process.

Native bees. The most important management stage in hives (the division of nests) was initiated. An experienced meliponas keeper trained 28 partners to identify which nests are susceptible of division and harvest of honey, and which others should expect the nest for a higher growth. Transfering was also made to make all the hives at INPA/Atzalan box because it is the one which facilitates handling of the beehives, without affecting the nest or bees and allow a stable inside temperature throughout the year.

In this process, a team of promoters who participated in all Works was formed to develop capacities and ensure that producers with skills to solve nest problems are present in every community.

Women groups. We continue with the production and sale of handmade soaps as a way to generate income for women. Increasingly, the members of the group are assuming more responsibilities in the sale of their products. In this quarter the group grew and joined a new product, the repellent for mosquitoes, which has had great acceptance in the Limones community.

Thank you for your trust and support to this project and look forward comments and suggestions from you all.

Melipona box
Melipona box
Training workshop on Meliponas management
Training workshop on Meliponas management
Mar 15, 2019

Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust, March 2019 Report

Coffee fruits
Coffee fruits

Dear donors.

During this quarter, the project has focused mainly on coffee harvest, as well as on the processing of coffee  beans to make them available on the market. In this regard, the current harvest season was still marked by a low production, gradually recovering from rust infestation. On average, between 4 and 6 quintals per hectare were collected this season, compared to the average of 15 quintals that were collected previously. However, thanks to the management of the shade coffee through agroecological techniques, a minimum production was achieved that, nevertheless, promises quality in the final product. Proof of this is that VIDA AC (the organization which is the marketing link for the coffee producers), has committed to buying 31 quintals (aprox. 2 metric tons), 11 of them for the organic coffee market and the rest to the special coffees market.

Another important work was the beginning of the construction of two solar dehydrators models in both communities, which will be tested to dry coffee during this season, as well as to dehydrate other products such as fruits and plants in seasons where there is no coffee harvest. The technical advice is in charge of Leonel Jiménez, who has sound expertise in the implementation of different ecotechnics, including solar dehydration. In both communities there is an advance of 80% in dehydratator model construction, and materials have been delivered so that those who are interested can reproduce it individually.

On the other hand, the first stage of adaptation of the native bees that were introduced to the two communities was completed, and six transfers were made from clay pots to technified boxes to facilitate the handling of this type of bees. This work was supported by colleagues from the allied organization INANA, who have extensive experience in the management of native American bees. In the next few days we will begin the first stage of harvesting honey, pollen, wax and propolis, and in the same way we will proceed to make nest divisions in those cases where the conditions allow it.

We reiterate our gratitude to the donors that have made part of these actions possible, and we encourage them to continue collaborating with ERA A.C. and the residents of San Miguel Tlapexcatl and Limones, to strengthen these initiatives that seek to minimize the devastating impacts of coffee rust and work for the environment sustainable management and conservation and for the improvement of the quality of life of the inhabitants of this region.

Transfering meliponas from clay pots to boxes
Transfering meliponas from clay pots to boxes
Evaluation of harvested Good quality coffe
Evaluation of harvested Good quality coffe
Dec 12, 2018

Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust December 2018 Report

Installing pilot solar dehydrator for coffee
Installing pilot solar dehydrator for coffee

During the last three months, the Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust in Mexico Project has focused on training and installation of solar dehydrators for coffee processing in two communities.

One of the biggest challenges faced by small coffee producers is adding value to the raw material, to retain the profits currently being earned by intermediaries in the second stage of the process. It is estimated that farmers get only between 3% and 6% of the total of economic gains in the coffee business. This situation is directly linked with the lack of knowledge of the skills required, as well as by the lack of the proper tools and equipment to carry out scaling in the supply chain to provide added value. Solar dehydrators attend this to carry out an important part of the process of grains drying, but also offers possibilities to add value to other alternate products grown in the agro-ecological coffee plantation, such as fruits and vegetables. Incorporating this ecotecnia, enhances food preservation for scarcity times and gives more commercial value to alternate products as dehydrated food.

Currently we have built two demonstrating dehydrators, and economic resources will be provided to a limited number of producers so that they can build their own solar dehydrators in their homes.

In addition, we are pleased to report that about 1km of contour hedgerows with native plants have been built for the retention of fertile soils, and it is estimated that, with this preventing erosion action, at least 10 tons of soil will be retained in the next year.

We also inform that this December we ended up planting 3 thousand native trees (fruit and timber) in order to consolidate the income diversification strategy for farmers. Planting of these trees has strengthened the strategy of giving impulse to the bio diverse shaded coffee agroforestry systems, reducing current growing trend of “Sun coffee” plantations.

We would like to invite donors who trust our proposal to continue supporting coffee producing farmers in the communities of San Miguel Tlapexcatl and Limones, in Veracruz, in its search for alternatives to face this crisis.

We send strong and supportive greetings to all and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Sincerely

Sustainably Facing Coffee Rust in Mexico Project Team.

pilot solar dehydrator
pilot solar dehydrator
Installing pilot solar dehydrator
Installing pilot solar dehydrator
 
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