UN Fund to Help Peruvian Coffee Growers Combat Land Degradation in Latin America
A group of 2,400 small-hold coffee producers in Peru will be the first beneficiaries of a new United Nations initiative aimed at combatting land degradation that could displace 135 million people around the world by 2030.
The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, a joint public-private investment venture between the UN and Paris-based investment manager Mirova, “aims to invest US$300 million in land management and restoration projects worldwide to meet global goals—known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—on land degradation by 2030,” Reuters reports. The $12-million, 15-year project in Peru, which is due to start within weeks, will involve training four coffee cooperatives in the northern part of the country in sustainable farming practices, including how to select the most robust seeds and make best use of organic fertilizers.
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“It’s a matter of selecting the seeds that are well adapted to local conditions, and future conditions taking into account climate change, to make the coffee plantations more resilient, and also to ensure good quality coffee is produced to drive prices up for farmers,” fund director and sustainable finance expert Gautier Quéru told Reuters.
Guided by the UN’s recognition that “land degradation drives climate change, with deforestation—which contributes 10% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions—worsening the problem,” reforestation will be the other core focus of the project, Reuters states. Nearly 9,000 hectares of degraded land will be replanted, providing much needed shade for the coffee plants and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 tonnes.
Acknowledging that the SDGs will not be met by small pilot projects like the Peru venture, Quéru told Reuters that next steps will include expanding the approach to other coffee cooperatives, as well as tree nut and cocoa farmers, in Peru and elsewhere in Latin America.