Growing sustainable coffee
Working with Ecotierra, Gilbert discovered new ways to improve his business, such as creating more shade for coffee plants. “By being able to plant trees, we can regulate the temperature in our plantations, generate an adequate microclimate for coffee ripening, and at the same time contribute to the sustainability of the planet,” says Gilbert, who is 37.
Gilbert’s annual production has increased five-fold since he started planting trees on his farm. He also now produces high-quality organic coffee, a premium product that brings a higher price.
The Café Selva Norte partnership aims to convert 23,000 hectares of degraded land into productive agroforestry systems, reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 million tonnes a year and improve the lives of 2,400 coffee producers.
Large swathes of the Amazon forest have been destroyed and cleared for farm use. Peru wants to reverse this trend by restoring 3.2 million hectares of degraded land, but it needs outside help.
This is where Ecotierra comes in, with an investment fund it created called Urapi Sustainable Land Use, which gives long-term loans to projects like Café Selva Norte. Urapi gave a $12.7 million loan to Café Selva. Urapi, in turn, received $13 million in funding from the UN’s Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.
Land degradation neutral by 2030
About 30% of land is degraded worldwide, according to the United Nations, and about 12 million hectares of productive land – an area roughly the size of Greece – is degraded every year. This is happening because humans are exploiting land and not investing enough in its protection.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 15 seeks to combat degradation by restoring damaged land and managing it sustainably. By 2030, the UN hopes land restoration and sustainable land use will outweigh land degradation. This is what the UN refers to as “land degradation neutrality.” Significant investment is needed to meet this goal.