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Efforts led by Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food to help coffee farmers and boost production have so far yielded excellent results

Now entering its third year, the Plan for the Care of Coffee (PIAC) implemented by Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) has benefitted thousands of coffee farmers in the country.

In the first year of the initiative, 150,000 coffee farmers were helped by the programme; by the end of the second year, 200,000 had been reached, so it is no surprise that SAGARPA and the other organisations involved in the programme are keen that it should continue after the Mexican general election, which takes place on 1 July 2018.

Speaking exclusively to C&CI in early February, Vera Espíndola, who works for SAGARPA, explained that all of the feedback from the programme had been extremely good, and she and her colleagues are hopeful that whichever party forms the next Mexican government will continue with it. “We’ve had fantastic feedback from the farmers who have been through the programme,” she told C&CI.

“We’re sure that feedback will help inform the next administration’s decision.” SAGARPA’s programme of work in the coffee sector in Mexico promotes the sustainable use of resources, employment and measures to ensure the continued competitiveness of agricultural products.

Significantly improving production

The Plan for the Care of Coffee’s mission is to increase coffee production to 4.5 million bags by focusing on improving production and farmers’ incomes from coffee in a sustainable manner.

Coffee is a key product in Mexico with a current estimated production of around 2.35 million bags annually. As in most coffee producing regions around the world, the vast majority of our coffee is grown by smallholder farmers – nearly 500,000 – who rely on the industry for their economic livelihoods.

The programme has a number of elements to it, including the distribution to farmers of new, high yielding, disease resistant coffee seedlings, and the establishment of nurseries in which to produce seedlings, along with technical assistance and training in good agricultural practices.

Technical inputs provided under the programme include fungicides to help combat coffee leaf rust, which had a profound effect on production in the country.■ C&CI Read more

This article first appeared in the March’18 issue of C&CI, click on subscribe now if you wish to read the full story and other informative articles in the March and future issues of C&CI or log in here if you are already a subscriber. 

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