Regional Association of Ecological Coffee Producers from Larecaja (APCERL)
Since 2011, WCS has been supporting the Regional Association of Ecological Coffee Producers from Larecaja (APCERL), composed of 66 members from eight communities in the municipality of Teoponte: Illimani, Sorata, Trinidad, Unión Cordillera, Chuchuca Esperanza, Espíritu Santo, San Julián and Flor Huaycho. Currently, the association manages 310 hectares of shade-grown coffee and agroforestry systems.
The coffee plantations are located within lower montane forest near Madidi National Park, the most biodiverse protected area in the world. This forest is found in the humid mountains and valleys of the eastern Andean slope, between 1100 and 1600 m. This area is characterized by its floristic diversity and wildlife species richness, particularly birds. The shade coffee production is compatible with wildlife conservation objectives given its contribution to protect the habitat of the Andean bear, jaguar, bush dog, several primates, deer and a variety of avifauna.
The project "Building Support for a Model of Integrated and Sustainable Development of the Coffee Chain in Tropical Northern La Paz" with financial support from WCS’s Conservation Enterprise Development Fund (CEDF) is implemented along the following components: technical assistance and training, competitiveness and market positioning, and environmental monitoring. It has placed special emphasis on the implementation of good agricultural practices: shade thinning, coffee plantations renewal and pruning, as well as pest and disease control of coffee crops using organic methods and local supplies. Another important activity is the establishment of an Internal Control System (ICS) and internal crossed supervision for coffee certification, which has allowed the association to obtain the Organic Certificate from Biolatina and the Fair Trade Certificate (FLO) for all hectares under production.
WCS also contributed to the building of a dry processing coffee plant in the city of El Alto, and provided equipment for threshing and selecting coffee beans: a threshing machine, a densimetric spreader, a size classifier machine and two bucket-elevators. The installed threshing capacity is 900 kg of green coffee per hour of operation.
As a result of activities to improve the final quality of the coffee bean, good production performance of the plots (30qq / ha) and investments in infrastructure and equipment, the sales volume of coffee increased from 78 TM (in 2010) and TM 97 (in 2011 and 2012) to 137 MT in 2013. The export value in 2013 was $us. 574, 000, a lower value compared to the sales prices of 2011 ($us 678, 000) and 2012 ($us 479, 000) due to fluctuations in the international price of coffee on the New York Stock Exchange.
Comparative analysis of coffee sales in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
In order to support APCERL´s farmers obtain Bird Friendly certification, field surveys were conducted to measure the height of trees, tree diversity associated with coffee, vegetation cover and the different layers of tree canopy. Eight plots from producers were evaluated, seven of which suitably qualified by virtue of their good shade and compliance with all certification parameters of Biolatina, who was commissioned to conduct the inspection and grant in 2013 Bird Friendly certification.
Currently, work is being conducted to establish a monitoring program of bird species that serve as indicators of the conservation status of the lower montane forest. The survey of birds and medium to large mammal diversity, conducted both within the plantations and in the montane forest, allowed the identification of 162 species of birds, 12 species of which are indicators of the Amazon forest foothills, seven are endemic to the central Andes and four are specific to bamboo areas in the region. In addition, 16 medium and large mammals were also recorded, two of them Vulnerable and Near Threatened (Tapirus terrestris and Tayassu pecari, respectively), and 13 in the category of Least Concern
Coffee production initiative in the Lecos Apolo Indigenous Territory
Since 2012, WCS has been working with the Lecos Apolo Indigenous Organization (CIPLA) in the implementation of the project "Support to increase organized production of organic coffee as a sustainable economic alternative for small producers of the Lecos Apolo people" funded by the Indigenous Fund. This project involves 60 families from the communities of Correo and San Juan of the Lecos Apolo Indigenous Territory, and aims to implement 95 ha of coffee plantations under agroforestry systems.
Project activities began in the communities with the development of a diagnosis of suitable areas for coffee production and nursery establishment. To date, there are nine established nurseries under agroforestry systems, with forest species such as mahogany, cedar, toco colorado (Pitademia sp.), serebó (Schizolobium amazonicum) and hausicucho (Centrolobium ochoroxylum).