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Organic agriculture and climate change in developing countries

Garibay, Salvador; Amador, Manuel; Castro, Jonathan and Kilcher, Lukas (2008) Organic agriculture and climate change in developing countries. Speech at: BioFach Congress, NürnbergMesse, Nuremberg, Germany, February 21-24, 2008.

[thumbnail of garibay-etal-2008-climate-change-developing-countries.pdf] PDF - English


Coffee is Nicaragua’s main organic product. There are 13,100 hectares of certified coffee. This area represents 10 percent of the total coffee production of Nicaragua and is managed by approximately 3,500 small producers. 90 percent of the organic coffee is sold for the export market.
In Nicaragua a legal framework for organic farming as well as regulations for the development of environmental services payments exist (forest conservation, water management, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration). There are also studies on carbon sequestration and carbon emissions in agriculture, forestry and industry. However, there are no investigations relating specifically to organic agriculture and climate change.
2. Background investigation
Since 2004, the Costa Rican Corporation for Training and Development CEDECO has been carrying out investigations on organic agriculture and climate change in Costa Rica, Cuba and Brazil. The research consists in comparison between organic and conventional systems in order to define climate relevant parameters. With this aim the project includes a model in which physical, chemical, socio-economical and biological parameters are taken into account as factors that can influence the GHG emissions, carbon sequestration and the energy efficiency of the evaluated cropping systems.
Results of the Costa Rican research showed that organic coffee production reduces GHG emissions by 1 ton of carbon equivalent (Ceq) per hectare. If this is multiplied by the certified organic coffee area, we find a total GHG reduction of more than 13 thousand tons Ceq per year. In the voluntary carbon market this can represent approximately 300,000 USD yearly. For the 3,500 smallholder families this could deliver financial resources for projects to improve their livelihoods in their local communities.
Moreover, results also show that, on average, organic coffee production needs 95% less total energy per ha than conventional coffee production. This presents further cost savings for the small organic coffee producers.
As concerns carbon storage, the organic coffee production system accumulates more organic carbon in deep soil layers than conventional coffee production. Carbon sequestration is a further element that can be used as a parameter for environmental services.
3. Assessment and improvement of climate relevant techniques in organic coffee production
Based on the above findings, CEDECO/UNA/FiBL proposes assessing and improving climate relevant techniques in organic coffee production in Nicaragua. A comparison of organic and conventional coffee production will be necessary in order to find out which parameters need to be taken into account along the full production chain. The results of the comparison between organic and conventional coffee production systems might offer the possibility to assess specifically which parameters and techniques can be used for environmental services in Nicaragua. A further aim of the proposal is to optimize climate relevant techniques during the life cycle and throughout the full value chain of organic coffee production. For example: how to obtain climate neutral coffee production, which compost technique has less GHG emissions and how can it be improved, how can the harvest residues be converted into biogas and energy that can be used in the rural areas etc.
The following approaches will be used:
1. Research: on station and on farm
2. Dissemination: capacity building, exchange of experience, promotion, multiplication, networking
3. Policy dialogue
The project processes shall include:
1. Participatory process
2. Linking stakeholders: producers, authorities, NGOs, research centres, etc.
3. Generating local know-how
How development cooperation can promote organic agriculture as a solution for climate mitigation
1. Set up projects with smallholder groups to improve specific management techniques:
• Fertility and carbon sequestration
• Compost production
• Biogas and energy production
• Management of biodiversity
• Management of wastes and natural resources
2. Research, dissemination and policy dialogue
3. Organic agriculture as excellent tool to mitigate climate change
CEDECO: Corporación Educativa para el Desarrollo Costarricense, Costa Rica
UNA: Universidad Nacional Agraria

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Speech
Keywords:Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Climate change, developing countries
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Climate
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International
International Conferences > 2008: BioFach Congress
Related Links:https://www.fibl.org/en/locations/switzerland/departments/development.html
Deposited By: Garibay, Salvador
ID Code:13207
Deposited On:28 Feb 2008
Last Modified:04 Nov 2020 14:45
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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