February 3rd, 2017
Agroecology and climate change resilience: In smallholder coffee agroecosystems of Central America
Published by CCAFS-CGIAR, HIVOS, the University of Vermond, Bioversity International, Cedeco, World Agroforestry Centre, December 19th, 2016
This paper (PDF) by CCAFS-CGIAR brings together and highlights research and gaps in the literature about climate effects on smallholder coffee agroecosystems. The authors seek to inspire future scholarship, inform policy and help direct development interventions. Arabica coffee production provides the principal source of monetary income for many smallholder households throughout the mountainous regions of Central America. Coffee agroecosystems serve several functions, which can include supporting livelihoods, and providing ecosystem services (e.g. carbon sequestration), and conserving biodiversity. For these reasons, coffee farming plays a key synergistic role in socioeconomic and ecological resilience. Despite these synergies, the livelihoods of Central American smallholder coffee farmers are in a precarious state due to their exposure and sensitivity to common stressors and shocks, including the seasonality of incomes, volatile commodity prices and natural disasters. This vulnerability makes it extremely difficult for growers to maintain (let alone build) their assets and capabilities, and to embark on pathways out of poverty. Although this paper primarily focuses on Central American coffee production, many of the examples and lessons are broadly applicable to smallholder coffee producers worldwide. The authors hope this researchbrief will benefit multiple stakeholders including coffee cooperatives, development practitioners, industry agents, researchers and policy-makers.