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Coffee Farmers Are Searching For Innovative Solutions To Climate Threats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Subbotina Anna

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Coffee is a well-loved beverage by many. When feeling troubled, even a single cup of warm coffee can lift you up. If you’re an enthusiast, you may want to learn more about the best coffee beans through websites like Homegrounds. And while coffee is relatively available anywhere, you’d be surprised to know that it can become a luxury soon as more coffee plants are placed at risk of extinction.

Climate change has drastically changed farmers’ lives. Because of shorter growing seasons, unpredictable weather patterns, and extreme weather conditions, farmers are forced to change their agricultural practices. Small farmers in the tropics are the most affected by this global problem and if they don’t act soon, coffee may soon disappear.

Here are some techniques farmers practice to make them more “climate-resilient”:

Develop a Plan

For anything to succeed, planning is indeed vital. Planning allows coffee farmers to predict outcomes and know what actions to take. A solid farming management plan includes strategies to improve their food output, create more efficient ways to run the farm, save money, and lessen their climate impact. They should first start with a baseline assessment to get a clear picture of the farm operations. From here, they can think of how these can run more efficiently while increasing production. Efficient strategies mean less greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing their food production using the land they already have means a reduced need for farmlands, which are usually cleared from forests. Also, it’s helpful to monitor farm and weather data to help farmers predict patterns and develop plans more effectively.

Conserve Water

Water is essential in running any farm operation. Because the agricultural sector consumes around 70% of the world’s freshwater, conserving water is crucial, especially in places where water supply is threatened. Water conservation techniques such as planting bushes and trees along rivers and streams to prevent contamination and erosion is one of several climate-smart ways in running a farm. Another practice is to treat agricultural wastewater before releasing them back into waterways.

Save Soil

It’s clear that soil plays a large role in agriculture. Aside from promoting higher nutrition and better flavor in food, soil is also among the largest carbon sinks. One way to reduce greenhouse gasses is to tend the soil, which can produce healthier plants with better yields. Fertile soil helps keep the plant roots hydrated during droughts or dry seasons because it holds more moisture. Coffee farmers are also performing soil conservation techniques, including no-till farming and contour planting, which helps reduce erosion since these techniques help keep the soil in place during floods or heavy rains. Using compost regularly can help fertilize the soil and reduce the need for commercial fertilizers.

Do-It-Yourself More

There are times when you need to get on your knees and hands to accomplish things. Using commercial weed killers is easy but harmful to the environment. On the other hand, pulling weeds by hand can be laborious for the first year or so, but it’s better for the soil. This practice can also help reduce the coffee farmer’s operating costs and greenhouse emissions. Coffee farmers use selective manual weeding, where the workers uproot “bad” weeds. The uprooted weeds are composted and later used as fertilizer. They also allow “good” weeds to grow because they help restore nitrogen content in the soil.

Plant More Trees

Coffee farmers that implement climate-resilient strategies know the positive impact of trees on farms. These include acting as windbreaks, filtering water, enriching the soil, and lessening soil erosion. Planting more trees around coffee farms creates shade for workers and other plants, helps produce high water quality, makes habitat for wildlife, and sucks greenhouse gasses, just to name a few. More than a quarter of deforestation is done for agricultural expansion and this change from forest to farms results in a drastic increase in greenhouse gas emissions. However, farmers who use climate-smart practices don’t feel the need for larger farm space because they enjoy high yields with the land they have. This way, the forests are also kept alive, which help in reducing harmful gasses in the atmosphere.

Final Thoughts

Coffee is one of the agricultural products that is being threatened by climate change. The dramatic changes in global climate has placed a lot of plants, including coffee, at risk of extinction. Deforestation, global warming, pests and diseases are also contributing to this problem. Without conservation, monitoring, and implementing climate-resilient practices, coffee will become a forgotten thing of the past. Not only is the coffee plant in danger, but also the farmers’ lives, which rely on coffee production for sustenance. Small-time and large-scale coffee farmers are working hand in hand to face the challenges brought about by climate change.

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