We Have Learned to Build and Manage Coffee Nurseries

Country: El Salvador

“We are part of a farmers group in Quebradas County, San Simon Municipality, El Salvador working to recuperate our farms that were devastated by coffee rust. We haven´t had any production for three years. Years ago we would buy coffee from any nursery or the Ciudad Barrios Cooperative. We never built our own nursery since we were used to buying plants without thinking about their quality. Many times after we would pay for preparing the holes and planting the plants, they would die because they were already weak. We would lose all our investment,” says Atilio Amaya.

“With Blue Harvest by ACUFOLFO and CRS, we began a Farmer Field School with 25 farmers from our community. We have learned so much through the training and field demonstrations in nurseries and farms. We each completed a farm plan, did soil sampling, and were trained on farm management, balancing the pH of the soil, plant spacing, water conservation practices, and the importance of ground cover. Plus, we learned how to set up and manage coffee nurseries learning the importance of producing our own plants. We set up our first nursery with 10,000 plants resistant to coffee rust planted in 2015, ” comments Ismelda Benítez.

René Martínez, 48, fertilizes a plant nursery of Cuscatleco coffee, a leaf rust resistant variety promoted by Blue Harvest project with the help of José Argueta, 67.

“We have set up a second nursery with 20,000 plants to renovate more of our farms. When we started receiving support from the Blue Harvest technicians about how to manage our farms and start our coffee nursery, we realized the importance of producing our own coffee plants. With the nursery, we know exactly what variety we are planting and their health, because we know what seed was used, and what nutrients and care they received. We learned how to prepare the soil for the bags, organize the bags efficiently to maximize space, and plant the seed correctly. We have changed our way of thinking about coffee in the long term by managing our own coffee nurseries,” says Oneyda Gómez.