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New research shows impact of bees on coffee process and productivity

31 October, 2018
New research shows impact of bees on coffee process and productivity

Research conducted by the organization Food 4 Farmers showed that bee pollination can result in a 10 to 20% ‘pollination effect’ in coffee process, improving production and quality; in addition, bee projects can contribute to improved livelihoods for coffee farmers and their families, according to a study published on Global Coffee Report (see full story here https://bit.ly/2wdW6to).

 Bees and other pollinators play an outsized role in the world’s food supply; unfortunately, they are in danger, so the food security issue is attracting efforts from different entities worldwide with different research and actions.

In that sense, last year the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) visited the Global Seed Vault, built near the North Pole to work hand in hand with entities such as Crop Trust to ensure survival of coffee in the future.

Buencafé, as part of the FNC, recognizes the importance of this type of research, as these coffee institutions constantly work to ensure more resistant and productive seeds and cleaner processes that benefit producers and the environment, among other important aspects of continuous quality coffee production.

Researchers have been working to understand the contribution of bees to coffee production for decades. In Panama, for example, Smithsonian researcher Dave Roubik discovered that bees accounted for 36% of coffee production, of which 25% was due to honeybees.

In Indonesia, a team led by agroecologist Alexandra-Maria Klein estimated bees’ contribution at 12%. While coffee trees provide few nesting sites and food for bees, bee diversity and abundance depend on the presence of trees on or around the coffee farm, an additional benefit of shade-grown coffee.

Food 4 Farmers, which helps coffee-farming families address seasonal hunger, supports beekeeping projects in Mexico and Guatemala, with other communities in Latin America waiting to join in. Beekeeping projects were initially introduced to diversify income and strengthen food security, but new research aims at improving income from coffee as well.

This organization is raising funds to conduct research in Mexico’s Chiapas state with Ecosur, colleagues from the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute, and the Cesmach coffee cooperative to determine the degree and interdependence of relationships between bees and coffee.

“Our ultimate goal is to equip farmers to improve the stability and reliability of coffee process with shade trees that can better support diverse pollinator populations,” said Marcela Pino, codirector of Food 4 Farmers.

 Global Coffee Report. May 2018. New research shows the impact of bees on coffee process. Australia. Retrieved from http://gcrmag.com/news/article/new-research-shows-impact-of-bees-on-coffee-productivity 



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