Since October 2018, RSI has held five new training workshops for coffee producers, as part of the Birds and Coffee project. Workshop topics included: understanding coffee trade organizations in our region; training to inoculate coffee plants with beneficial symbiotic fungi called mycorrhizae; application of post-harvest techniques that enhance sustainability; natural spring water resource management and protection; and sustainable wastewater treatment. We continue to provide training and technical support for participating farmers, who have planted more than 600 coffee plants and 50 shade trees since April 2018, to improve agroforestry parcels and achieve Smithsonian Bird Friendly® (BF) certification. These programs will continue for the coffee producers of Piedra de Cachimbo and the nearby community of La Florida. Ten farms in La Florida joined Birds and Coffee in August 2018 following an upswell of popular interest. These producers are committed to improving their bird-friendly practices.
We would also like to introduce several new specialists to the project: Mariana Marcano, anthropologist; Diego Benitez, biologist; Williams Bermúdez, agronomist; and Mauricio Iranzo, sociologist. Their participation in training and workshops has been essential to Birds and Coffee success, and to the growing enthusiasm among participating farming communities. Word is spreading rapidly among other communities who are eager to participate in a future expanded phase of Birds and Coffee. We welcome this groundswell of interest in a project that so clearly benefits coffee farmers, healthy watersheds, thriving bird communities, and expanded tropical forest habitat for all species, especially the Red Siskin.