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We have seen over the last 20 years areas of forest not under the protection of forestry reserve or national park be decimated by the practice of slash and burn farming to grow cash crops.
A simple explanation goes like this: 'Patrons approach subsistence farmers and offer to provide seed for them to grow a crop, the patronss undertake to purchase the crop once harvested and deduct the cost of the seed from the final sales price.
However The seed more often than not is of GMO origin meaning it will not provide seed for a second year and re finance/new seed is required year on year. Continued use of the plot means yields decline and chemical fertilizers have to be used ( often also provided on credit by the sponsers) this spirals down constantly reducing the profitability of the crop to virtually nothing, leaving only the option of slashing and burning to create more land and to continue the cycle all over again.
Coffee is a crop that grows well in the area and as it is shade grown, does not require the destruction of trees and forest. However the down side is that the immediately harvested crop " the cherry" has a limited value until it is processed to the green bean level. The traditional way of processing requires time and space and does not always yield the best results for on sale.
We hope by providing initial processing services to the local community we can increase the profitability of coffee as a cash crop and encourage the reduction of slash and burn within the area.
We welcome visits and we can either integrate groups into the daily working of the program or conduct an overview/study session. It is also possible for students to study potential growing sites within the surrounding valleys as a needs assessment project.
The Wild Planet has funded the purchase of land, construction of the processing facilities and the purchase of machinery. Operational costs as the project continues will be self funded. Cherry processing will be "paid for" by donations of processed beans, these beans will be roasted and packaged and sold to fund the continuation of the project.
The coffee plant does not yeild within the first 2 years of planting meaning that before a return is realized time and some monetary investment is required. As a pilot project Wild Planet is supporting on a small scale the purchase and cultivation of coffee close to our Wild lodges and will support the farmers engaged in this cultivation over this initial period. We hope to expand this program as the project grows