• Adapting to climate change in practice


    Good farming practices automatically help conserve soil and water and in so doing also make it easier to adapt to global warming whilst at the same time lessening its impact. But the necessary resources are not always available, especially not in the smallholder sector.

    Hands-on options include (list not exhaustive of course) *

    In the field 

    • Mulching to reduce evaporation, avoid erosion and improve soil fertility.
    • Terracing/contouring, drainage and trapping/storing run-off rain water.
    • Planting hedges, planting contours to mitigate wind and water damage
    • More effective irrigation and water resources management
    • Shading to mitigate increased solar brilliance, reduce temperature variations and help retain moisture.


    • Reduce water usage = eco-friendly pulpers
    • Improve wastewater management and disposal
    • Make effective use of all compostable materials
    • Use solar energy, i.e. sun drying where feasible
    • Use renewable energy sources for mechanical drying
    • Make better use of dry milling by-products (fuel, charcoal briquettes, board)

    Longer-term options include 

    • Strengthening institutions
    • Improving access to climate data
    • Mapping potential climate change impact on coffee areas **
    • Improving soil fertility
    • Examining different production models, for example high density planting
    • Developing/planting disease and drought resistant varieties
    • Shifting production to more suitable areas where feasible
    • Developing finance mechanisms to facilitate all or some of these

    Carbon sequestration and sinks*** 

    • Calculating and reducing the on-farm carbon footprint
    • Determine the feasibility of creating marketable carbon sinks
    • Linking smallholders to carbon markets to exploit carbon footprint opportunities****

    * Many if not all of these are of course also promoted by the different certification and verification standards as Organic, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified, 4C Association and corporate standards as Starbucks' CAFÉ Practices and Nespresso's AAA Program.

    ** Examples of climate mapping can be found at http://www.ciat.cgiar.org (contact Dr Peter Laderach, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical or International Center for Tropical Agriculture at p.laderach@ciar.org. ) and at http://www.iac.sp.gov.br (contact Marcelo B. Paes de Camargo, Instituto Agronômico - Campinas - IAC in Brazil at mcamargo@iac.sp.gov.br) .

    *** This is further discussed in section 4 of this chapter.

    **** Carbon footprint opportunities arise from the wish by industry in developed countries to reduce or offset their carbon footprint, i.e. the total amount of GHG emissions caused directly or indirectly by an organization or a product.

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