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Naturland supporting coffee farmers in Uganda and Burundi in coping with climate change

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Small farmers around the world are already suffering to a large extent from the effects of climate change. Even though organic farmers are often better equipped, especially since cultivation in agroforestry systems can buffer climate extremes to a certain degree, there are as well challenges to be coped with.

In the last months Naturland staff Manfred Fürst and Anne Hessenland were active in Uganda as well as Burundi in carrying out workshops to support coffee cooperatives in how to deal with the challenges of climate change that are already perceptible and are still to come.

In Uganda the project with Ankole Coffee Producers´ Cooperative Union (ACPCU) is run in close cooperation with GEPA Fair Trade Company and in Burundi the coffee umbrella organization COCOCA is supported by a project run by Weltpartner and financed by SEZ from Baden-Württemberg.  

Coffee yields and quality heavily depend on the rain and rain is becoming less and less reliable in the many coffee grower regions. If it rains too much, the coffee shrubs become susceptible to fungi or other diseases, too little rain inhibits the growth of the plants.

Participatory workshops with farmers and advisors

In the workshops farmers, extension staff and representatives of the management teams worked together  to  identify the biggest climate-related problems in coffee such as heavy rainfall, storms and hailstorms and too long drying times on the other hand. There after possible solutions were identified to mitigate the problems or adapt to the new situation. An emphasis was on identifying the most suitable fertilizing trees in the coffee plantations.

A lot of farmers indigenous knowledge was gathered, packed into plans of action and waits to be put into practice within the next two years.