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Building resiliency in the face of a changing climate

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Webinar 3 Questions & Answers 

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Question 1: What are the first steps when you get to a coffee farm, how do you know what needs to be done at the farm? What’s the first step to making that plan with a farming family?

Answer: The first step is to identify the region and specific location of the coffee farm. Regions face different climatic challenges and have different adaptation practices that suit them best.

The second step is to identify to what extent climate change is affecting the coffee farm. Depending on the extent of the impact this will determine which adaptation practices will be needed to start to mitigate the challenge.

Question 2: Has there been an increase of migration from farming communities in Tanzania as a result of climate change?

Answer: Climate change impacts have really affected coffee farming in Tanzania over the years. Introduction of new coffee varieties (ex. Compact seedlings), which are resistant to coffee berry disease, coffee leaf rust and are high yielding, have resulted to a big shift in terms of field rejuvenation and establishment of new farms.

Also, as a result of changes in distribution of rainfall and increased drought in some regions, coffee farming families have adopted use of field water harvesting structures which help distribute want during the days of low rainfall.

Question 3: Could you share more about the impact of climate change on coffee quality?

Answer: Productivity and cup quality of the crop are strongly affected by climatic variability (variation of air temperature or in the rain distribution/intensity), due to the direct interference on the phenological stages of coffee. Drought can delay fertilization and crop activities, and during fruit development it causes abnormally small beans. Extreme temperatures cause flowers to burn or fall off the plant rapidly. The high average temperatures can also cause alteration of the fermentation process causing low quality in cup. Conversely, excessive humidity during harvest can also cause alteration in the fermentation process.

Question 4: Could you explain what are demo plots?

Answer: Demonstration (demo) plots ensure the farmers attains maximum output on their farms by showing latest and best practices. For farmers seeing is believing, so the plots are areas of a coffee farm selected to demonstrate all good agriculture practices and climate smart agriculture practices. Farmers are able to learn and understand the benefits of adapting their practices by viewing the progress in these demo plots. The goal is for famers see the value of introducing new practices, recognize the potential yield of the coffee on their farms, and increase the adoption rate of these practices.

Question 5: Among the different climate adaptation practices, which ones are most easily or more readily adopted by farmers?

Answer: In Tanzania, planting of improved seedlings and rainwater harvesting have been the major practices adopted by farmers. The use of improved seedlings is increased by presence of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute (TaCRI) which provides access to seedlings easily within the region.

Question 6: How have irrigation systems been implemented in both regions? Are there plans to incorporate more of them?

Answer: Smallholder coffee farming families have adopted use of drip irrigation especially in regions where they are affected by low rainfall. In Tanzania, farmers have adopted the system locally by using water bottles drilled in between coffee trees for drip irrigation.

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