Farmer João Nilton Julião on his agroforestry coffee farm. Image courtesy of Idesam. After nearly giving up on their coffee plantations, farmers in Apuí, in Brazil’s Amazonas state, have turned to a different farming model. Through agroforestry, they have found they can both generate an income and keep the forest standing. Apuí is among the top 10 municipalities in terms of deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon, driven by the growth of the cattle industry. Introduced in 2012 with support from the Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon (Idesam), Café Apuí Agroflorestal is the first coffee to be grown in an agroecology system in the state of Amazonas. The system has not only prevented cattle pastures from taking over old coffee plantations, but also doubled productivity in the region. When Idesam kicked off its project, farmers in the region were producing an average yield of eight bags of coffee beans per hectare, much lower than the municipality’s potential. Today, the average harvest is 15 bags per hectare, and that number could grow to 25 bags per hectare. “Today we have 30 families farming 50 hectares [124 acres] of coffee in an agroforestry system. But the potential is gigantic,” says Marina Yasbek Reia, director of the Café Apuí Agroflorestal project. “We used to harvest just a little and sell cheap — hardly earned anything,” says Ronaldo de Moraes, one of the farmers enrolled in the project. “Now, we sell at higher prices and things are a little better.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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