In 2013 I visited Las Diosas and was made aware of their struggle with “La Roya”— the coffee rust fungus that we quickly laying waste to the women’s coffee plants. A little more than a year later the epidemic has reached alarming proportions. In the past few months Las Diosas and FEM have been putting together a project proposal for the replanting of their fields with disease resistant strains of coffee and with food crops that will help them survive the three-year period between when the coffee goes in the ground and when the trees start producing.
Just Coffee will be working to raise funds for the project working with On The Ground– a non-profit that works in coffee country and who we have worked with in the past. The project is also being supported by Outside The Bean– our partners here in Madison. For more in depth information on the project and to donate, please visit On The Ground’s website. We will be working on this project with Las Diosas for the next three and we need your support!!!
(photo by the incredible Julia Baumgartner)
The Project Nica Roya Relief Project benefits 107 women organized in the “Las Diosas” or “The Goddesses” cooperative and helps them stay on their land and in their communities at a time when coffee farmers are facing economic pressure and no viable alternatives. The plots of these small farmers have been severely affected by the coffee rust fungus also known as “La Roya”. 80% of their coffee has been damaged or killed in the blight. The disease is attributed to global climate change with changes in temperature and in rainfall patterns that allow the fungus to spread rapidly. With new plants, proper resources, and better organic solutions to fighting the fungus (fertilization and mineral treatments) the women can overcome this disaster. At the same time, diversifying use of their land will allow the women to ensure food security and secondary market crops while the coffee recovers.
Coffee rust is considered one of the most catastrophic blights in the history of plant diseases. Strong coffee rust attacks in 2012 and 2013 have been due to increased precipitation, changes in air temperature, decreased relative humidity and solar high brightness, plant age, shade management, plant nutrition, and overall productive load. The problem is greater among small producers who were unable to make the investments required because of the speed of the onset of the disease and an overall lack of resources for proper management, as they have very limited access to credit and other services such as technical assistance.
Project Nica will contribute to the development of a management strategy that integrates sustainable solutions to the disease in their communities. The results will strengthen the self-reliance of the women, promote a model of best practice organic farming, environmentally sustainable crop renovation, and the rehabilitation and maintenance of their farms.
Roya Relief Project for FEM/Las Diosas– women coffee producers in the departments of Esteli, Nueva Segovia, and Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Places of action: Six municipalities: Pueblo Nuevo, Condega , Estelí, Nueva Segovia, Dipilto, and Terrabona .
Total duration of the action (years): 3-4 years
Amount: $20,000 minimum investment for initial stages.
Objectives of the action:
The rehabilitation and renovation of agroecological coffee farms to ensure the livelihood of 107 rural women coffee farmers.
Result #1: The development of a plan for reorganization and diversification in five years.
Result #2: The implement on their farms sustainable agricultural practices including the acquisition of fruit trees and roya resistant coffee plants.
The project is expected to renew a total of 100 manzanas of land including:
– Development of a training plan for the conversion of organic coffee production technologies.
– Implementation of integrated management practices organic farming
– The acquisition, preparation and application of compost manure type , Bio-fermentation materials, and Bio-mineral materials.
What your donation buys:
1070 Fruit Trees are needed at $2.00 per tree
6 Mineral Treatments are needed at $328.00 per community
18 200 liter barrels for mineral processing and biofertilizers are needed– 3 per communitiy– at $100.00 per barrel
6 knapsack motors are needed for spreading mineral treatments at $634 per motor
2 workshops on food security are needed at $60 per workshop
12 roya resistance facilitation workshops are needed at $150.00 per workshop
26 deliveries of coffee plants are needed at $159.00 per delivery
Thousands of coffee plants are needed at $.24 plant