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NCI Promotes Project to Replace Corn with Shade Grown Coffee October 2010
Reducing pesticide and fertilizer use by 500 metric tons per year
With funding support from the Belgian Forestry Fund, NCI and the Municipality of Pindal, Ecuador have signed a collaboration agreement for the implementation of a pilot project to convert cornfields into shade grown coffee plantations in the Papalango watershed, the main water source for the municipality. The project has been in development since last year and has already been successful with landowners, many of whom had suffered economic losses after destroying their old coffee plants to plant corn due to a temporary spike in corn prices resulting from international demand for biofuels. The coffee plants should prove to be economically more stable over the long term. This change also involves a substantial reduction in the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers calculated at 500 metric tons / year in this watershed. Unlike corn, the shade grown coffee needs almost no additional chemicals when grown in conjunction with other species such as banana, citrus and legumes. This polyculture system also helps to improve the food security of rural families.