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  • Writer's pictureJon Ferguson

ECOTIERRA 2021 Impact Report: Exploring Café Selva Norte

The Ecotierra Impact Report for 2021 provides an extensive multi-faceted review of the holistic approach which has been developed to meet organizational goals. To explore the impact report more in-depth, we are dedicating the weekly ElevaFinca communications to selections of the report, starting with URAPI’s first investment, Café Selva Norte. Initial CSN activities began in 2019, located in the Cajamarca and Amazonas, Peru. Café Selva Norte began by establishing an alliance with coffee organizations participating in the development of agroforestry practices.

For many of those familiar with ElevaFinca, Café Selva Norte is widely known for its state-of-the-art dry mill located near Jaen, Peru. The dry mill is jointly owned by local cooperatives and Ecotierra. Additionally, CSN provides financial support for the renovation of aging farms and the restoration of degraded land through the introduction of sustainable agroforestry systems. CSN also supports the creation of carbon credits in two Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified projects for afforestation, reforestation, revegetation (ARR), and conservation. Lastly, CSN provides the marketing of coffee through ElevaFinca, in addition to the sale of carbon credits.

During URAPI’s participation, the target is to:

  • Involve 3 000 producers.

  • Reforest 8 250 hectares with sustainable agroforestry systems.

  • Conserve

  • 200 000 hectares of forest.

  • Capture and avoid the emission of 3,8M tons of CO2

  • Create 60 new jobs

In 2021 Café Selva Norte has achieved:

  • The creation of a partnership with 10 coffee organizations.

  • The completion of the construction of the Café Selva Norte mill.

  • The first steps into the implementation of the Finca Escuela which will be used for producing seedlings and mature coffee plants, and forest species, and the creation of demonstration plots to develop and strengthen the skills of producers through workshops and training.

  • The reforestation of approximately 119 hectares with more than 158 000 forest seedlings through the Te Quiero Verde program in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation. The program involves the Unicafec, Bosques Verdes, and CeCafé cooperatives, along with the San Ignacio and San José de Lourdes district municipalities.

Dagner Montalvan and Pedro García, from the Café Selva Norte team, oversee the design and socialization of the technical packages for the implementation of sustainable agroforestry systems with coffee (SAF) and forest massifs, financed by the URAPI fund. They are also accompanying the producers during their development, guaranteeing their implementation.

They tell us about their experience in the implementation of agroforestry systems.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the coffee value chain, increased the cost of living, and restricted socialization activities, discouraging producers from making changes to their production methods and limiting the number of hectares (ha) of SAF and forested areas to be implemented. In addition, the lack of knowledge of suppliers regarding the production of forest seedlings and the low production capacity of coffee seedlings all contributed to the limited capacity for delivering technical packages.

What were the milestones achieved that make you most proud?

Pedro: One of the most important steps was the establishment of the Finca Escuela nursery, for which I am responsible. It will allow us to meet the demand for coffee plants, up to 1 million per lot, and for forestry plants, up to 15 000 per lot.

Also, one activity that has excited me the most is the Te Quiero Verde reforestation program, which will contribute to soil protection, carbon sequestration, and sustainable marketing of wood in the future.

Dagner: One of the most notable activities was the first evaluation of productivity and pest resistance indicators that we conducted on the SAF installed in 2019, with very encouraging results: high pest resistance and an average yield per hectare of 40 quintals, more than double that of a common crop in the first year of harvest.

Finally, what do you think are the most remarkable aspects of the work done by Café Selva Norte that would be worth replicating by other people and organizations?

The design of technical packages adapted to the conditions of each zone, which allows them to offer the quantities and varieties of coffee and forest species appropriate to each altitudinal range, as well as the inclusion of new varieties to ensure greater productivity, resistance to pests and quality of the cup of coffee.

In addition, the technical packages of the SAF and trees are linked to the commercialization of carbon credits, as they guarantee the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the organizations and producers who are members of the Café Selva Norte alliance.

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