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Adaptation for Smallholders to Climate Change

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Mexico Mexico Mexico Mexico
Please click on the photos to enlarge.   

How Mexican coffee farmers adapt to climate change – the Más Café case study

Within Latin America Mexico is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The climatological study on the region of Chiapas, where AdapCC worked together with the pilot group Más Café, shows a slightly decreasing tendency in registered levels of rainfall and a clear increasing tendency of temperature during the last three decades. Similar predictions are also underlined by the applied climate change scenarios for the next decades of the present century. The situation is especially alarming as the actual temperature and rainfall levels of the region are out of the as optimal considered conditions for coffee production. These changes affect the yields, increase production costs and reduce quality, which minimizes drastically the producers' income – especially alarming taking into account that coffee represents 70% of the families' income in the region.

Please download the complete description of the Mexican Case Study here (PDF-Document, 1.0 MB).

Between July and December 2008 AdapCC realised the process of Risk and Opportunity Analysis (ROA) together with the pilot group Más Café. The participatory workshops found out that coffee farmers in Chiapas are suffering from the following risks threatening their yields and livelihoods:

Problem / Risk Root Causes Solution
1 Deforestation
  • Use of wood for fire and construction
  • Increasing temperatures leading to drying up of surrounding areas and resulting in bush fires
  • Burning practices
  • Increasing pressure on natural resources
  • Lack of environmental conservation culture
  • Adoption of energy saving or gas stoves
  • Ban burning practices
  • Adoption of alternative material for construction
  • Reforestation
  • Environmental education in communities
2 Less water availability
  • Lack of rains
  • Lack of water catchment installations
  • Deforestation
  • Water catchment facilities
  • Reforestation
  • Enhanced soil coverage
  • Irrigation
3 Increasing pests
  • Rise in temperature (CBD)
  • Strong rains (worms)
  • Loss of native vegetation
  • Loss of shade trees
  • Excessive application of pesticides
  • Reforestation with native species
  • Renovation of coffee plots
  • Diversification of production systems
  • Ban chemical pesticides
  • Natural pest control
  • Capacity building among communal extension service
4 Poor soil fertility
  • Accelerated soil erosion due to climatic changes and natural extreme events
  • Human settlements
  • Prolonged droughts
  • Inorganic waste
  • Excessive use of agrochemicals
  • Application of organic fertilizer & vermicompost
  • Increasing soil cover
  • Planting trees
  • (Inorganic) waste treatment
  • Terracing & hedges
5 Erratic rains and strong winds
  • Increased extreme weather events like hurricanes
  • Shade trees
  • Woodlots & hedges
  • Use of more resistant material for construction
  • Early warning systems
6 Difficulties in drying coffee beans under sun
  • Changing precipitation patterns
  • Rains during the Mexican harvest season when coffee beans are dried
  • Adoption of coffee drying technologies

As result of the analysis process the following working areas for exemplary adaptation to climate change in the Mexican coffee sector were defined and implemented between January and December 2009:

  1. Maintain and increase forest cover
  2. Pest Management
  3. Carbon Sequestration
  4. Energy efficiency / renewable energies
  5. Secure coffee drying process

Component Facts and Figures Benefits
1 Maintain and increase forest cover
  • 2 agreements signed in JSG and Kulaktik to ban burning practices
  • Extention of Más Café's tree nursery now producing 450.000 plants per cycle
  • 24 communal extension services in 6 cooperatives trained to collect native tree seedlings
  • 12 sensitization wokshops per cooperative JSG and Kulaktik
  • 1 workshop on bush fires and fire prevention
  • Project proposal developed to extend activities to another 20 communities
  • Exchange visits to Puebla and State of Mexico to identify alternative construction materials
  • Sensitization for women to use energy saving stoves for cooking, 300 stoves adopted
The forest and biodiversity will be conserved.
Seedlings for further reforestation activities are available.
Among the communities environmental awareness could have been raised.
On the long run the implemented activities will help to enhance the resilience of the coffee eco-systems.
The efficiency of use of wood for households and construction has been improved.
2 Pest management
  • 2 agreements signed in JSG and Kulaktik not to apply chemical pesticides
  • 2 capacity building workshops with ECOSUR on Integrated Pest Management
  • 8 sensitization workshops in Kulaktik
  • 132 greenhouses on family level to produce vegetables
  • 80% of the producers of JSG and Kulaktik installed hedges to improve soil fertility
  • 90% of the producers of JSG and Kulaktik are producing compost
  • 6 tanks for vermi-composting installed at cooperative level
  • Investigation project on soil fertility will be carried out with ECOSUR and University of Finland
  • 150.000 coffee plants produced in Más Café's nursery for renovating coffee plots
  • 20% of planned coffee plot renovation already achieved
The use of chemical pesticides has been reduced and improved natural pest management practices are now applied. This leads to reduced pest attacks and less soil degradation.
Applying sustainable practices and the renovation of the coffee plantations enhances their resilience and helps to improve their productivity.
3 Carbon sequestration
  • Partnership with ECOSUR and group of experts working on a pilot REDD project in Chiapas "Una REDD para Chiapas"
  • Collection of baseline data (numbers, size and types of trees) with 12 trained promotor farmers
Más Café is enabled to participate in a planned public REDD project and could benefit on the long run from carbon credits.
4 Energy efficiency / renewable energy
  • Study on use of renewable energy sources for dry mill and warehouse of Más Café
A proposal to use renewable energy and thus, save 30% of the energy costs is available.
5 Secure coffee drying process
  • Exchange visit to Nicaragua and to Huatusco / Veracruz to learn about alternative drying techniques
  • 30 solar driers as demo units installed
  • Communal workshops to enhance farmers' wet milling practices
The risk of loosing quality of coffee beans through sun drying has been reduced.