Global
Agriculture

Mexico

Farming Stories project: KAJVE - Prosperity comes in Grains

KAJVE - Prosperity comes in Grains

Mexico is one of the Top 20 countries for global coffee production with about 500.000 families depending on cultivating this crop for their livelihood. Many of them are small producers from around 30 indigenous groups. In the southern part of the country along the Guatemalan border, Chiapas, with 51% rural population, ranks first among Mexico’s states in coffee production. However, 65% of Chiapas’ population falls below the poverty line, facing limited access to basic needs such as education, health and nutrition. Under the premise of bringing innovation while respecting the legacy of three indigenous communities of the State of Chiapas, the Kajve project was born. Working together with UNESCO and partners along the coffee value chain, the project focuses on improving the quality of life for coffee growers and on increasing coffee yield and quality. This is done by applying Good Agricultural Practices, with culturally appropriate methods that respect community traditions. Coffee cultivation is part of the community identity of many indigenous groups in Chiapas, thus for interventions to be effective, they need to respect the cultural diversity and ethnic components of the community. In a baseline assessment, UNESCO characterized the value of coffee traditional farming practices in the communities in scope.

 

Why

Coffee rust, a foliar disease caused by a fungus, has been present in Latin America since the 1970s. While the disease had long been manageable for growers, in recent years incidences have increased, with significant negative effects on coffee yield and quality. The threat of rust in the area is latent and the adoption of technology low. Combined with the current low world market prices, this caused a 50% decrease in national coffee production in Mexico. To improve this situation, Good Agricultural Practices that increase farm productivity and coffee quality are vital to reduce losses of great economic importance and improve smallholder livelihood.

 

How

Together with our partners and starting from UNESCO’s baseline community analysis, we explore the role of alternative coffee production and trading systems in improving smallholder incomes and in stabilizing the prosperity of their families and communities. This is being done considering the traditions and heritage around coffee cultivation and in alignment with the UN SDGs. The project comprises training on Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Pest Management using educational plots, extension service with face-to-face visits to farms, support for farmers to rejuvenate coffee plantations and clean-field programs for the right management of farm waste. The training includes a strong component on environmental education. Here, the focus is on conserving biodiversity at the Biosphere Reserve and identifying existing water resources to reinforce production activities and the sustainable use of water. The cultural aspects were reinforced with activities explaining concepts of Community Heritage, identification of cultural elements of coffee cultivation as a practice of generational transmission, inclusion of women and youth in farming practices.


Result

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10
% higher price for coffee beans for farmers in the program due to improved coffee quality

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rural communities included: Jaltenango, Chenalhó and Grecia

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% increased yield at farm level

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field demonstration plots stablished

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training sessions on Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Crop Management

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farmer and field visits

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long-lasting Personal Protective Equipment kits delivered to communities

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collection point for empty agrochemical containers installed

SDGs

SDG 1 – No Poverty

Enhancing farm income and farmer livelihood by helping them to increase yield, improve quality of coffee and facilitate access to potential customers in the food value chain.

SDG 2 – No Hunger

Together with partners, we support smallholder farmers to produce more high quality coffee beans by providing them with technical advice and plants for crop rejuvenation.

SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-Being

We provide customized training on responsible use of agricultural technology and Personal Protective Equipment to promote safe work on the farm.

SDG 4 – Quality Education

We promote agricultural education for farmers and their communities, increasing efforts to improve learning outcomes for people in vulnerable settings.

SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Training farmer communities on the responsible use of resources and relevance of environmental protection for the future generations. Intangible cultural heritage is a living element of the community’s interaction with nature. Such interaction should aim to use resources more sustainably, making agroecosystems more resilient.

SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals

BASF works closely with UNESCO and partners in the coffee value chain to ensure agricultural methods that respect the community’s cultural identity and to facilitate farmers’ access to fair markets.