Panama Canal Taps Coffee Farmers to Help Heal Area Hit by Deforestation, Drought
Panama’s 15-year-old incentive program for coffee farmers who plant trees near the Panama Canal aims to slow environmental damage, including soil erosion and river contamination, contributing to the canal’s falling water levels. The program allows farmers to expand their plantings and access higher prices for their robusta beans. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has spent $32 million on the program, which trains farmers to adopt more environmentally friendly methods and helps them access certifications that offer a premium for their beans.
The initiative benefits around 1,700 local farmers, with around 10,600 60-kilogram bags of robusta beans harvested during the last coffee harvest in the Capira area. Experts credit the project with slowing damage to surface water sources crucial to the functioning of the canal, through which around 5% of global trades passes, at a time when the ACP has been forced to reduce crossings due to severe drought. ACP head Ricaurte Vasquez praised the farmers, arguing that they make the interoceanic waterway more resilient to the global climate crisis.
In summary, the 15-year-old incentive program for Panama’s coffee farmers aims to slow environmental damage, improve the economy, protect rivers, and ensure the canal’s operations.
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Source: Coffee Talk