“There are people who believe that actions addressing climate change must occur only in the field, but we need help, it is not only the responsibility of farmers but the whole world.”
How many members does your organization have?
Our organization has 23 members.
Do you have liaison for the NAMA Café? How many people are involved?
We have two people responsible.
What is your interest in participating in the NAMA Café?
My interest lies in several issues: Firstly, to identify alternatives for coffee production in this zone. Secondly, to encourage a more environmentally-friendly production, without pollution and which does not require many resources that affect the daily life of animals. Moreover, we want to provide the cooperative with efficient resources to foster financial and environmental progress. Finally, it constitutes an opportunity we should take to continue to do the things we do, but in a cheaper, more profitable and more environmentally friendly way.
What do you understand by Climate Change?
To be honest, Climate Change is not good at all and I would summarize it as a set of conditions caused by environmental abuse through human activities. Climate Change provokes extreme weather conditions, affecting humidity, rainfall, winds and temperature. All these factors not only generate an impact on all humans, but also on natural resources. For example, here we suffer from water scarcity, strong winds and drought, whereas about hundred kilometers from here people face heavy rainfalls. We should create a balance in our environment. Summing up, Climate Change is alterations in climate due to human activities which we are now paying the bill for. This will affect the whole word, especially those people who work in the field of food production.
Do you think your actions affect the climate?
My actions, your actions and all actions we take might affect in a positive or negative way. We look forward to achieving a positive contribution by means of the NAMA Café through the introduction of coffee and orange trees in order to provide shade. Moreover, it is necessary to diminish the use of chemical fertilizers, to better education on climate change and to protect the rivers; everybody should make a contribution. One important thing that should be clarified: Many people think that actions against Climate Change only have to be taken by farmers, but we actually need help – environmental protection is not only the farmers´ responsibility, but rather of the entire world.
Which sources of greenhouse gases do you know from the coffee sector?
For example, engines of trucks for transportation, the use of plastics, the burning of firewood and the application of fertilizers.
Do you know the expression of “carbon footprint”?
Yes, it consists of two things. The first is the process that I am currently undergoing with my mill, I can mitigate the impact I have on the environment, for example when processing coffee. How much am I polluting the environment when producing x kilograms of coffee? But it’s also my starting point to say “if I do this, I pollute less. If the gas I produce is x kilograms of CO2 on 40,000 hectares, y can mitigate 45% a year doing this, this and this”. So the carbon footprint tells me how much I pollute, in order to change this. And that is positive.
Do you know someone who is affected by Climate Change?
Yes, of course, the coffee producers and farmers of other crops from the region of Guanacaste are highly affected by Climate Change, as well as in other countries, such as Nicaragua or many African countries.
Is your job vulnerable to Climate Change?
Yes, since I am a coffee producer my family lives on the field and our life will change a lot due to Climate Change.
Do you think it is necessary to take preventive measures at this moment? If yes, describe these measures.
One will not be enough; we should do everything possible and it requires the support from all of us. In my opinion we can combat Climate Change, if all people agree and take on more responsibility. We are obliged to establish a global agenda, if we accomplish it, we can achieve this challenge. If we would invest a ten per cent less in weapon industry and make an investment to combat Climate Change, I am sure that we will find a better world for everyone.
Do you know the Costa Rican government´s strategy for reaching carbon neutrality? What do you think about it?
My knowledge on this strategy is limited. The first time when the government mentioned the goal of becoming carbon neutral until 2021 I thought they were crazy. In reality, it was good to initiate that process due to the fact that it constitutes a relevant topic which has to be addressed, people have to become more aware.
Which adaptation and mitigation actions do you know regarding Climate Change in the Costa Rican coffee sector?
There are many. Considering the value chain of coffee, there are different actions to be taken and improvements to be made during the entire coffee processing. For example, using less fertilizers or synthetic herbicides. Maintaining a balance in the environment by using trees, vegetation coverage and clean technologies in the coffee mills and continuously reviewing equipment. Everything you do generates an impact. Improving the way one drives a vehicle and motivating employees to separate and recycle waste. Big things such as a policy that regulates electricity use and small, workplace-related solutions have a great impact.
How does your institution contribute to climate and environmental protection?
We have a pioneering role in environmental protection. Our coffee production is totally environmentally friendly and has only a minor impact. Chemical fertilizers are applied once a year, for further applications organic fertilizers is used. We have sufficient shade on our plantations; we recollect waste, encourage environmental education and spread information among the people. In fact, speaking to the people creates awareness and helps a lot. Finally, we acquire machinery with efficient technology, which is quite expensive, but we look forward to receiving support from the NAMA Café. We hope that this project has an impact on our plantations and in the mills.