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Recent News

Shade Grown Coffee to Replace Corn
March 2009

Coffee and tara will offer a long-term sustainable income alternative

The Flemish Fund for Tropical Forests will finance a two-year project in the Tumbesian dry forests of Ecuador that encourages farmers to plant shade-grown coffee and tara (Caesalpinea spinoza), a plant whose fruit extracts are highly tannic and are used in the tanning process. High corn prices in recent years have led to the destruction of many of the coffee plants in the region to make additional space for sowing corn. However, this caused a great deal of deforestation and contamination of water resources due to erosion and the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Additionally, recent climatic changes in the area have resulted in severe damage to the new crop, further impoverishing the peasants of the region. The hope is that the shade-grown coffee and tara will offer a long-term sustainable income alternative to the local people, which will also prevent deforestation and sequester carbon dioxide.

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