Shade-grown coffee in Puerto Rico: Opportunities to preserve biodiversity while reinvigorating a struggling agricultural commodity
Coffee has been a traditional crop in Puerto Rico since the mid-1700s. As the global market became more competitive in the 20th century, the Puerto Rican government provided subsidies and policies to protect the sector as well as promoted the transition to shade grown coffee for higher yields in the 1980s. The researchers surveyed 100 farms and 5 agronomists to determine attitudes about this transition.
Conclusions & Takeaways
Ultimately, the survey found that farmers are more satisfied with shade grown coffee techniques and would transition back to that. Further, most farmers cultivate other crops, including fruit trees as shade trees, and stated a perference for promoting plant and wildlife conservation. However, two major concerns are ensuring government incentives and support to make this transition possible and consideration of major hurricane effects on the sector. The researchers recommend sustainable agroecosystems, like agroforestry, to export speciality coffee production, provide barriers to hurricanes, and increase biodiversity conservation in order to fulfill economic and conservation goals.
Agroecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers: contributions to food sovereignty. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 2011;32:1–13. doi:10.1007/s13593-011-0065-6..
- Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University
- United States Geological Survey, North Carolina
- Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research unit, North Carolina State University
- Interdiscipilinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington