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East Timor:Building composting beds to improve the health of the coffee trees

2016.7.7

In February, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) presented coffee saplings at a ceremony to producers who participated in the coffee farm rehabilitation training. The ceremony and associated training is a part of the project that started in 2013 to help coffee farmers increase their coffee production in East Timor. Through creating seedling beds, many coffee farmers gained knowledge of the importance of rehabilitating the coffee fields.

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A picture from the coffee sapling presentation ceremony in a village in Letefoho, Ermera district.

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Shade trees are planted to provide necessary shade for the coffee saplings

PWJ has been working on soil improvements and invited a specialist who has deep experience in growing quality coffee trees. Once he had analyzed the characteristics of the soil in East Timor, it was found to be hard, and lacking in one of the three major nutrients, nitrogen, which makes it difficult for the trees to take root, resulting in unhealthy growth. In order to help improve this soil issue, PWJ started to work with the farmers to construct new composting sites using the defleshed coffee cherries.

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The pictures show activities from the compost preparation workshop. Normally, after coffee cherries are processed, the farmers simply pile up discarded coffee cherry fruit on the ground and treat them as compost. However, these new composting sites allow coffee farmers to not only produce better quality fertilizers more efficiently, but they can also extract liquid fertilizers which can be used to help increase the health of the coffee trees.

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Fluid fertilizers can be gathered from the compost and are concentrated with various rich nutrients, so they need to be diluted with water to be used in coffee fields or in vegetable farms. One of the workshop participants said, “I plan to use this liquid fertilizer for my coffee trees on a regular basis and hope to produce higher quality coffee in the future. I am also happy to know that the fluid fertilizers can also be used for other vegetables on my farm!”

PWJ plans to continue supporting coffee farmers in East Timor to aim for further financial stabilization.

* This project is funded by PWJ supporters and the grants from the Official Development Assistance of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Japan.