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Evaluation of Hawaii Coffee Agroforestry Systems

CIG Projects in PIA | Pacific Islands Area NRCS
 CIG Projects in the Pacific Islands Area:


Evaluation of Hawaii Coffee Agroforestry Systems

Grantee: Big Island Resource Conservation & Development

Abstract:
During the past decade, agroforestry has become an accepted agricultural system in the United States, potentially providing many conservation benefits. These include protection of soil and water resources, enhanced overall production from mixed-cropping and expanded wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

Over the past few years, farmers in Kona and elsewhere have begun experimenting with coffee agroforestry. These farmers and others considering coffee agroforestry are in need of technical assistance based on research. This project will study twelve existing shade-grown coffee orchards and compare them with open-grown coffee based on a five key indicators: soil organic matter, major insect pests, yield and bean quality, production costs and market values, and environmental conditions (shade levels, tree density, plant species present, etc.). We expect that shade-grown coffee has wide potential for adoption, as a number of farmers have adopted this practice on their own during recent years.

The goals of this project are to:

  • Select twelve farms with coffee agroforestry on which to measure the five key indicators. No one has before gathered a group of such farms in one study.
  • Over an 18-month period, evaluate five key measurements on each of the twelve farms: soil organic matter, major insect pests, coffee yield and bean quality, production costs and market value, and environmental conditions (shade levels, tree density, plant species present, etc.). The data collected will be used to evaluate some important environmental and economic factors of coffee agroforestry. This will be new information, never before collected for coffee agroforestry systems in Hawai�i.
  • Analyze data accumulated during the project.
  • Produce a 12�18 page coffee agroforestry guide for extension agents and farmers in Hawai�i and distribute it freely. In addition to informing people of the results of the project, the guide will show how existing NRCS Practice Standards can be adapted for coffee agroforestry, such as Alley Cropping (311), Hedgerow Planting (422), Mulching (484), Multi-Story Cropping (379), Nutrient Management (590), Pest Management (595), and Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats (643).

Additional info can be found at: http://agroforestry.net/caf/Hawaii_shade_coffee.pdf (PDF; 2.75 MB)