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T
ER
RA

CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE
SUSTAINABLE COFFEE EXPORT

Conscious Tasting

an irreversible trend

What Latitudes Brazilian Coffees does?

Latitudes Brazilian Coffees promotes the adoption of Conservation Agriculture principles:

 

  • minimal soil disturbance,

  • permanent soil cover, and

  • crop rotations that are universally applicable in all agricultural landscapes and cropping systems.

  • good agricultural practices for sustainability

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Latitudes Brazilian Coffees, Alessandro Guieiro and Conservation Agriculture

Latitudes Brazilian Coffees, a green coffee exporter, works close with Alessandro Guieiro, one of the most renowned agronomists from Brazil, promoting coffees from 4 farms which believe in Conservation Agriculture (CA). Every year a quality competition is organized by Latitudes Brazilian Coffees and these estates send their samples. The winner lot and the other ones are promoted all over the world and sold to Latitudes’clients.


CA is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. It promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and to improved and sustained crop production.

 

CA principles are universally applicable to all agricultural landscapes and land uses with locally adapted practices. Soil interventions such as mechanical soil disturbance are reduced to an absolute minimum or avoided, and external inputs such as agrochemicals and plant nutrients of mineral or organic origin are applied optimally and in ways and quantities that do not interfere with, or disrupt, the biological processes.


CA facilitates good agronomy, such as timely operations, and improves overall land husbandry for rainfed and irrigated production. Complemented by other known good practices, including the use of quality seeds, and integrated pest, nutrient, weed and water management, etc., CA is a base for sustainable agricultural production intensification. It opens increased options for integration of production sectors, such as crop-livestock integration and the integration of trees and pastures into agricultural landscapes.

Conservation Agriculture is based on three main principles adapted to reflect local conditions and needs and Latitudes Grand Cru Coffees encourages:

Latitudes Brazilian Coffees works close with Alessandro Guieiro, one of the most renowned agronomists from Brazil, promoting coffees from 4 farms which believe in Conservation Agriculture (CA). Every year a quality competition is organized by Latitudes Brazilian Coffees and these estates send their samples. The winner lot and the other ones are promoted all over the world and sold to Latitudes’clients.


CA is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. It promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and to improved and sustained crop production.

Minimumm echanical soil disturbance:

Minimumm echanical soil disturbance

Minimum soil disturbance refers to low disturbance no-tillage and direct seeding. The disturbed area must be less than 15 cm wide or less than 25% of the cropped area (whichever is lower). There should be no periodic tillage that disturbs a greater area than the aforementioned limits. Strip tillage is allowed if the disturbed area is less than the set limits.

Permanent soil organic cover:

Permanent soil organic cover

Three categories are distinguished: 30-60%, >60-90% and >90% ground cover, measured immediately after the direct seeding operation. Area with less than 30% cover is not considered as CA.

Species diversification:

Species diversification

Rotation/association should involve at least 3 different crop species.

Why Latitudes Brazilian Cofffees supports it?

Approximately one-third of the planet’s soils are degraded. In many countries, intensive crop production has depleted soils, to the extent that future production in these areas is jeopardized. Healthy soils are key to developing sustainable crop production systems that are resilient to the effects of climate change. They contain a diverse community of organisms that help to control plant diseases, insect and weed populations; recycle soil nutrients; and improve soil structure with positive effects on water holding capacity, nutrient retention and supply and levels of organic carbon.

Conservation Agriculture is 20 to 50% less labour intensive and thus contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through lower energy inputs and improved nutrient use efficiency. At the same time, it stabilizes and protects soil from breaking down and releasing carbon to the atmosphere.

Conservation Agriculture provides a number of advantages on global, regional, local and farm level:

  • Sustainability. It provides a truly sustainable production system, not only conserving but also enhancing the natural resources and increasing the variety of soil biota, fauna and flora (including wild life) in agricultural production systems without sacrificing yields on high production levels.

  • Enhanced biodiversity. CA depends on biological processes to work; it enhances the biodiversity in an agricultural production system on a micro- as well as macro level.

  • Carbon sequestration. No till fields act as a sink for CO2 and conservation farming applied on a global scale could provide a major contribution to control air pollution in general and global warming in particular. Farmers applying this practice could eventually be rewarded with carbon credits.

  • Labour savings. Soil tillage is among all farming operations the single most energy consuming and thus, in mechanized agriculture, air-polluting, operation. By not tilling the soil, farmers can save between 30 and 40% of time, labour and, in mechanized agriculture, fossil fuels as compared to conventional cropping.

  • Healthier soils. Soils under CA have very high water infiltration capacities reducing surface runoff and thus soil erosion significantly. This improves the quality of surface water reducing pollution from soil erosion, and enhances groundwater resources. In many areas it has been observed after some years of CA that natural springs that had dried up many years ago, started to flow again. The potential effect of a massive adoption of CA on global water balances is not yet fully recognized.

  • Increased yields. Conservation agriculture is by no means a low output agriculture and allows yields comparable with modern intensive agriculture but in a sustainable way. Yields tend to increase over the years with yield variations decreasing.

  • Reduced costs. For the farmer, CA is mostly attractive because it allows a reduction of the production costs, reduction of time and labour, particularly at times of peak demand such as land preparation and planting and in mechanized systems it reduces the costs of investment and maintenance of machinery in the long term.

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