Costa Rica to step up carbon-neutral coffee production

December 3, 2015

Coffee fans will soon have another reason to buy Costa Rican brews. On Tuesday, officials from the Environment Ministry (MINAE) announced a new goal to convert 25,000 hectares of coffee plantations to carbon-efficient farms.

The new plan comes after the U.K. and German governments pledged €7 million ($7.4 million) to expand Costa Rica’s existing program of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action farms, or NAMAs. The deal comes in the midst of the COP21 climate change talks taking place in Paris through Dec. 11.

Costa Rica began its coffee NAMA pilot program in 2013 with 800 small producers. The donated money will allow Costa Rica to expand the program to more than 6,000 family-owned farms. By 2023, the country plans to have implemented the NAMA best practices in all of its coffee farms.

The pilot farms reforested unused areas of farmland, reduced their dependence on chemical fertilizers and employed other innovations on a farm-by-farm basis. The strategies already have been proven effective. Coopedota, located in the Los Santos region southeast of San José, became the world’s first carbon neutral coffee producer in 2011 by utilizing many of the NAMA recommendations. Along with improving efficiency, the coffee cooperative burns coffee bean byproducts to produce its own energy. The cooperative’s members say in addition to helping the environment, the changes have saved them more than $200,000 a year in costs.

Coffee: Santa María de Dota
A view of Costa Rica coffee-producing region Santa María de Dota. Michael Krumholtz/Tico Times

Agriculture contributes approximately 38 percent of Costa Rica’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing them in this sector is key to the country’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral. Aside from the coffee sector, the Agriculture Ministry already has created a NAMA pilot program for cattle ranches, and a program for sugar cane farms is in development.

While the coffee NAMA program is the furthest along in development, cattle farming is the biggest agricultural polluter, contributing 23.6 percent of the country’s total emissions. In January, 100 farms across the country will be put into the NAMA pilot program. By using pasture rotation, reusing animal waste, reforesting unused land and other efficiency improvements, the Costa Rican government hopes to reduce cattle farm emissions by 6 million tons in the next 10 to 15 years.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Bribrí women commemorate Sergio Rojas and vow to keep his fight alive
Human rights
549 views
Human rights
549 views

Bribrí women commemorate Sergio Rojas and vow to keep his fight alive

Alexander Villegas - March 24, 2019

About 30 indigenous leaders, friends and family of Sergio Rojas gathered in the indigenous Bribrí community of Shiroles, about 20…

The planet loses 40 soccer fields worth of forests every minute
Climate Change
802 views
Climate Change
802 views

The planet loses 40 soccer fields worth of forests every minute

Michelle Soto / Latin Clima - March 24, 2019

In just 10 years the planet has lost 945,345 km2 of natural forests, a little over the total size of…

Slothy Sunday: The death grip
Environment & Wildlife
524 views
Environment & Wildlife
524 views

Slothy Sunday: The death grip

The Tico Times - March 24, 2019

With their long claws and strong muscles, sloths have a powerful grip. Their bodies are so conditioned to hanging from…