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Organic Coffee. Issues of Sustainable Development. By Matt De Kam. Overview. Background Certification Standards Organic Coffee Production Sustainability Frameworks Sustainability of Organic Coffee. Background. Internship with Tierra Nueva Organic or Sustainable?

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organic coffee

Organic Coffee

Issues of Sustainable Development

By Matt De Kam

  • Background
  • Certification Standards
  • Organic Coffee Production
  • Sustainability Frameworks
  • Sustainability of Organic Coffee
  • Internship with Tierra Nueva
  • Organic or Sustainable?
  • Is it worth getting certified?
certification standards what is organic
Certification Standards: What is Organic?
  • Fair Trade
    • Offers an extra premium for organic
  • Utz Kapeh
  • Rainforest Alliance
    • Organic farms will comply most easily
  • Shade/Bird Friendly
    • Must be organic
  • Certified Organic

(Raynolds et al., 2007)

organic coffee production
Organic Coffee Production
  • Site Requirements
    • Climate
    • Altitude
    • Soil
  • Varieties of Coffee
    • Arabica
    • Robusta
    • New Varieties
organic coffee production1
Organic Coffee Production
  • Shade (Upper storey)
    • Leguminous Trees for N fixation and shade
      • Inga sp.
      • Erythrina sp.
    • Palm Trees
      • Break down Phosphorus
    • Benefits
      • Nutrient Source
      • Organic Matter
      • Regulate Coffee Photosynthesis (50% shade)
      • Weed reduction
      • Micro Climates
organic coffee production2
Organic Coffee Production
  • Middle Storey
    • Bananas & Plantains
      • Mobilize potassium
      • Use up water
    • Citrus
      • Impacts the coffee flavor
    • Avocado
    • Provide a source of income and food
organic coffee production3
Organic Coffee Production
  • Under storey
    • For new plantations, or when trimming shade
    • Green Manure (N fixing)
      • Arachis pintoi (pinto peanut)
      • Red Beans
organic coffee production4
Organic Coffee Production
  • Nutrient Management
    • Compost
      • Coffee Pulp
      • Poultry Manure
    • Nitrogen fixation from trees, green manures
    • Nutrients from Leaf litter
    • Rock Phosphate
    • Dolomitic Limestone
organic coffee production5
Organic Coffee Production
  • Disease Control

“the coffee eco-system is not balanced” (SIPPO, 2002)

organic coffee production6
Organic Coffee Production
  • Integrated Pest Management
organic coffee production7
Organic Coffee Production
  • Weed Control
    • Shade usually takes care of it
    • Some biodiversity is beneficial
      • Roots prevent erosion
      • Food for insects
    • Cut back unwanted plants manually
organic coffee production8
Organic Coffee Production
  • Soil Conservation
    • Continuous ground cover
      • Trees
      • Coffee Bushes
      • Cover Crops
    • Contour Planting
    • Water Channels
    • Living Barrier Strips
      • Lemon Grass
      • Espada De San Miguel
      • Pinapple (shade tolerant version)
    • Terraces
organic coffee production9
Organic Coffee Production
  • Post-Harvest Processing
    • De-Pulping
    • Fermentation
    • Washing
    • Drying
framework for sustainability
Framework for Sustainability
  • Adams and Ghaly
    • An integral framework for sustainability assessment in agro-industries: application to the Costa Rican coffee industry
  • Global Reporting Initiative
    • Environmental
    • Social
    • Economic

(Labuschagne et al., 2005)

environmental sustainability
Environmental Sustainability
  • Highly Sustainable, especially compared to main-stream coffee production
    • Little de-forestation
    • No impacts from fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides
    • Soil Conservation
    • Maintains some habitat: biodiversity
    • Nutrient cycling (composting of harvest wastes)
environmental economic sustainability
Environmental/Economic Sustainability
  • External Nutrient Requirement
    • Compost all the coffee waste
    • For a yield of 800 tonnes green coffee per hectare:
environmental economic sustainability1
Environmental/Economic Sustainability
  • External Nutrient Requirement
environmental economic sustainability2
Environmental/Economic Sustainability
  • Finca Irlanda: Organic Coffee farm
    • Applies 3.7 t/ha of compost
    • 50% of compost is from off-farm sources
social sustainability
Social Sustainability
  • Improved worker health and safety
    • No harsh chemicals to handle
    • Cancer rates in Costa Rica were correlated with conventional coffee producing areas (Boyce et al. 1994)
  • More manual labor
  • Social requirements for some certifications
economic sustainability
Economic Sustainability
  • Productivity and profitability of multistrata organic versus conventional coffee farms in Costa Rica (Lyngbaek et al. 2001)
economic sustainability1
Economic Sustainability

(Lyngbaek et al., 2001)

economic sustainability2
Economic Sustainability

(Lyngbaek et al., 2001)

economic sustainability3
Economic Sustainability
  • Organic gets a 20% price premium
  • Average coffee yields were 22% lower at the organic farms
    • However, some organic farms outperformed the conventional farms
  • If certification costs are included, the current organic premium would need to be 38% higher than its current level to make organic competitive with conventional
  • Organic coffee sustainability depends on your particular situation
    • Environmentally superior to conventional
    • It will be more work to supply the needed compost
    • Price premiums may not make you competitive with conventional coffee
    • Many farms are making it work

Adams M.A. and Ghaly A.E. “An integral framework for sustainability assessment in agro-industries: application to the Costa Rican coffee industry.” International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology. 13 (2006): 83-102

Boyce JK, Fernandez A, Furst E and Bonilla OS. Café y Desarollo Sostenible: del Cultivo Agroquimico a la Produccion Organica en Costa Rica. Universidad Nacional. San Jose, Costa Rica, 1994.

Lyngbaek A.E., Muschler R.G., and Sinclair F.L. “Productivity and profitability of multistrata organic versus conventional coffee farms in Costa Rica.” Agroforestry Systems 53 (2001): 205-213.

Raynolds LT, Murray D and Heller A. “Regulating sustainability in the coffee sector: A comparative analysis of third-party environmental and social certification initiatives.” Agricultural and Human Values 24 (2007): 147-163.

SIPPO, Production Guidelines for Organic Coffee, Cocoa, and Tea. SIPPO, FIBL, and Naturland. Zurich/Frick, Switzerland.

Van Der Vossen HAM. “Organic Coffee Production: Myth or Reality – a Review.”International Conference on Coffee Production (2004): 960-983.