Monteverde coffee, dairy farmers receive funding for sustainability efforts
(Infocom) — The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Production (MAG) has signed two agreements to distribute more than 111 million colones (some $205,000) among 100 coffee and dairy farmers in the Monteverde region, as a way of recognizing the environmental services these producers provide to their communities by implementing sustainable production practices.
Noe Vargas Leiton, project coordinator for the Santa Elena Coffee Growers Cooperative, thanked the government for the 25 million colones he received on behalf of more than 50 co-op farmers. He said the money will be used for improving the crop, treatments, efficient use of water, equipment, reforestation and soil conservation, among others.
“The idea is to seek ways of sustainable production that will generate benefits to the environment and human beings,” Vargas Leiton said. “We should use environment-friendly alternatives to deal with the high costs of inputs.”
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Javier Flores pointed out that the funds — which come from the Program for Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Production (PFPAS) — will encourage producers to improve the way they farm not only protect the environment but also people’s health.
Federico Muñoz Chacon, president of the Monteverde Dairy Producers Association (APLM), indicated that with the 86 million colones his group received, they will implement a project called “Sustainable Production and Environmental Restoration in Monteverde’s Dairy Farms,” which will benefit some 58 small and medium milk producers (50 male and eight female) from 10 different communities.
“We want our farms to be a stronghold of production, where people can produce and live in harmony with the environment,” Muñoz Chacon said.
The funds will allow dairy farmers to improve the sustainability of their properties, also boosting production and quality of the milk. Infrastructure — including corrals, roads, water troughs, milking parlors, grass paddocks and electric fencing — will also see improvements through this program.
Other plans by the Monteverde dairy association include purchasing storage tanks and milking equipment, as well as promoting genetic improvement practices, using improved grasses, establishing pasture rotation systems, and planting forages.
The Monteverde farmers also seek an efficient way of managing liquid and solid waste through systems that would protect soils from erosion and water sources from contamination stemming from production activities.
Another important aspect of this sustainability program is the planting of trees on dairy farms by the producers themselves, with the goal of capturing carbon as well as improving biodiversity and the landscape.
“These two agreements require efforts from all of us, in every aspect,” Minister Flores said. “In the case of milk, it’s important to underscore that there’s still room for the production of 100,000 more liters of milk per day (in the country) and demand for dairy products continues to grow. And regarding coffee, we need to improve the mills, waste management and be more efficient in the use of water.”