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Can Green Coffee Save El Salvador's Wildlife?
Emily Gertz, 15 May 05

Although only 2-5% of El Salvador's native forests remain intact, high-altitude coffee plantations cover about 10-15% of the country, providing refuge for much of the country's remaining wildlife and buffers around national parks.

The hitch: world coffee prices are volatile, with growers losing out if the price drops too low, and then selling out to developers or cattle ranchers. Since certified organic coffee tends to hold value even when other beans go for cheap, environmental groups are working with El Salvadoran coffee farmers to help them go green, get certified, and stay in business.

If their plans work, a daily cup o' El Salvadoran joe will provide that uniquely satisfying morning jolt that comes from combining caffeine with economic justice and nature preservation:

At the Las Lajas co-operative near the town of Sonsonate, no fewer than 120 tree species shade the coffee which is fertilised with organic compost made from the husks of the coffee beans themselves.

One of the managers at the co-operative, German Javier Chavez, says that even with the relatively healthy world coffee price at the moment of just over $1 (£0.50) a pound (0.5kg), certification can add 10 cents to the value.

That difference is much greater when world prices fall because the "green" coffee holds its value.

"When the prices are really low like they were, and they may be again in the future, then certification can be a survival mechanism. It can really make the difference," Mr Chavez told the BBC News website.

(via the BBC)

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Comments

Check ZERI and Colombia. Can't find the link right now. Why live on the coffee seed when you can have profit from the whole plant?

Check http://www.zeri.org for some good lessons (/initiative) and projects.

Apparently, a 100 kg pig produces, in wastes, 10% of its weight DAILY. If that's true, then we can learn to use all that waste for profit.


Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 16 May 05



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