How coffee helps revive Mozambique’s rainforests
Gorongosa National Park was once considered one of the best in Africa. Everything changed during the civil war in Mozambique last century.
The reserve became a place of armed conflict. Both wildlife and vegetation suffered. Civilians also accelerated the destruction of forests. They cut down trees to make way for cornfields.
For the past four decades, Gorongosa has lost 100 hectares of forest annually. But now the reserve is being revived. The so-called coffee injection helps to restore the green cover.
Park ranger Pedro Muagara suggested planting coffee trees in the clearings. This became an incentive for the locals to protect the rainforests.
Pedro Muagara, caretaker of the Gorongosa National Park:
“We realized that if we simply call for the restoration of forests, without promising people any benefits, then things will move forward, but very slowly. That is, very few trees are planted per year. Therefore, we propose to participate in a project that brings both environmental and socio-economic benefits.”
National park specialists study varieties of coffee trees and choose for planting resistant to pests, diseases, drought and long rainy seasons.
This is important as the weather in Mozambique is getting erratic. Droughts, floods, storm winds destroy agriculture and put people on the brink of survival.
But now more than 800 small farmers make a living participating in coffee production. Almost half of them are women.
Fatiansa Paulina, farmer:
“My children can go to school. And although sometimes there is a drought, there is always a coffee harvest. I have enough money to take care of the children and not starve, because coffee is a stable income.”
Last year, people living near the reserve planted over 260,000 coffee trees and 20,000 native trees.
Now a total of 815,000 coffee trees grow on 250 hectares of land.