Background, Situation Overview and Current Trends of Coffee in Puerto Rico, October 2010

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Information about Background, Situation Overview and Current Trends of Coffee in Puerto...
Government & Nonprofit

Published on April 3, 2014

Author: lisettefas



One of the earliest works of Cafiesencia Puerto Rico, an educational NGO, written in 2010, summarizes the historic, agroindustrial and natural backgrounds of this timeless crop, and presents the current issues and trends in the island.


2 Table of Contents I.  Background and Situation Overview - historic - agro industrial - natural II.  Current Trends III. Bibliography and References

3 Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus for the Spanish Crown in 1493 and in 1898 became part of the United States of America as a result of the Spanish American War. Background and Situation Overview Historic

4 Background and Situation Overview Historic •  The coffee industry in Puerto Rico has been the most important industrial and agricultural activity in the history of the Caribbean Island. •  Nevertheless, its economic, historic and cultural contribution is virtually unknown to many Puerto Ricans, even less to the general world population.

5 Background and Situation Overview Historic •  The first coffee trees arrived in Puerto Rico in 1736, in America it arrived in 1720. •  By the 19th century “mild washed” Puerto Rican coffee was among the highest priced in the world market. •  It became the favorite of European royalty, the Vatican and the White House •  By the 1890’s Puerto Rico was the 4th largest coffee exporter in America.

6 Background and Situation Overview Historic •  The Haciendas, the major coffee processing axis, provided housing and stores, grew food crops, provided credit, produced charcoal and organic fertilizer and kept horses and mules. Haciendas became self sufficient in most ways.

7 • Some minted their own tokens. Background and Situation Overview Historic

8 • By 1877 there were 843 coffee “haciendas” or “estancias” registered, mostly concentrated in the western mountains. • Unofficial numbers put them in the thousands. Background and Situation Overview Historic

9 • Maricao municipality contained the highest number: 234. . Background and Situation Overview Historic

10 • Today probably less than 35 of these haciendas are in livable condition and even fewer cultivate and process coffee. Background and Situation Overview Historic

11 • Immigrants from the French island of Corsica dominated the coffee commerce in the municipality of Yauco and immigrants from Spain’s Balearic Islands dominated the commercial activity in the municipality of Lares. Source: Background and Situation Overview Historic

12 • During the 18th century smuggling of Puerto Rican coffee also flourished in the hands of pirates and corsairs to the point where the Spanish Crown declared it tax free. Background and Situation Overview Historic

13 Puerto Rico Coffee Belt 2008 Source: Prof. Miguel Monroig Inglés University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez • By 1899, 69 municipalities cultivated coffee and 35 had haciendas or estancias. • Today the coffee zone is comprised of 22 municipalities. • With only 55,000 acres dedicated to coffee cultivation. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

14 • Coffee exports peaked in 1898 with more than 600,000quintals (1 quintal=100 pounds). • More than a century later, for 2005/06 Puerto Rico produced 203,500 quintals. Not enough to satisfy even local consumption. Local demand is now met with government purchases of off-island coffee to be blended with the local coffee. • With cultivation subsidized, exports ceased by government decree in 1969. It resumed in the 1980’s, directed towards specialty/gourmet coffee. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

15 • The Specialty Coffee exports for 2004/05 amounted to 12,585 quintals. • Finding a 100% Puerto Rican coffee bag in local chain supermarkets is not common. • Recently, boutique coffee brands have emerged as excellent alternatives for the most demanding palates with an offering of a variety of choices. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

16 • There are two groups whose role in the success and maintenance of the coffee industry has been overshadowed by the most prominent commercial firms and large haciendas establishments, and that is the role of women and small to medium coffee farmers. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

17 • In a recent survey of coffee farm owners they expressed great satisfaction with the work of women because “they are very responsible, absenteeism is very low, and they concentrate in their work achieving excellent efficiency”. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

18 • In 2002, small and medium coffee farmers’ production accounted for 77.2% of all coffee production in the island. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

19 • For 2006/07 the local Department of Agriculture estimated that there were 88 beneficiados and 48 roasters with 9,805 coffee farmers, and 16,000 workers. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

20 • It is believed that the coffee activity sustains, both directly and indirectly, over 200,000 individuals in the poorest areas of Puerto Rico. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

21 • There is also limited knowledge of specialty coffee financial optimization. • A transformational plan from traditional/intensive to sustainable farming needs to be developed and implemented. It starts with education and convincing. • For coffee farmers, diversification of income generating activities like tourism, coffee byproducts and other crops are opportunities that are not being taken advantage of. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry

22 • According to the 2007 Federal Census of Agriculture, in five years we have lost 40% of our coffee farms, 33% of the acreage, and 18% of the production. • Shade grown coffee only accounts for 23% of the production, and in five years its production has decreased by 39%. • The forecast for production this year is even lower due to the effects of the arrival of the coffee berry borer last year. There is also limited knowledge of specialty/elite coffee financial optimization. Background and Situation Overview Agro Industry Recent Statistics – Critical Situation

23 Background and Situation Overview Nature • The coffee belt is located among tropical forests that are habitats for fragile ecosystems, which includes wildlife on the verge of extinction. • 6 national forests reserves are located in the coffee zone. • Coffee farms in particular are vital habitats for several species of birds both resident and migratory. . Source: Bird Photos by Mark Oberle

24 • Further, the coffee belt includes major hydrologic basins for the entire island. • As a Caribbean island, Puerto Rico is part of the 25 Biodiversity Hotspots in the World. High endemism and constant threats should make it everybody’s agenda to help preserve nature. • Puerto Rico has one of the lowest land reserve rates– even compared to developing countries. . Background and Situation Overview Nature

25 A joint venture among the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund. Our partnership melds the intellectual creativity of one of the world's top universities with the on-the-ground experience and policy innovation of two of the world's most effective and influential conservation organizations. In addition to the three core partners, we are working closely with leaders globally, from many institutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. In short, we bring world-class research and development to a global laboratory of conservation practice Current Trends

26 Goals that apply to the CEP project: Goal 3 : Promote gender equality and empower women Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development UN Millennium Development Goals Current Trends

27 • In 2000 UNESCO declared several Cuban Coffee Haciendas from the 19th and 20th centuries as World Heritage. Following is a description and justification found in the World Heritage webpage: The remains of the 19th-century coffee plantations in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra are unique evidence of a pioneer form of agriculture in a difficult terrain. They throw considerable light on the economic, social, and technological history of the Caribbean and Latin American region. Current Trends

28 Destination: The Java Zone Nicaraguan coffee growers are preserving ecosystems that nurture banana trees, sloths, and a new breed of tourist By Gregory Dicum Coffee farms in La Corona, Nicaragua, attract ecotourists who come to learn about the stimulant that perks up their mornings and provides habitat for children of many species. I'm not alone. At its most precious, coffee is becoming like wine: attracting connoisseurs so obsessed with terroir that they adjust their travels accordingly, eager to experience the rustic-- and incredibly warm--hospitality of small coffee farms. Every major gourmet-coffee-growing region on the planet falls inside one of the critical biodiversity hot spots identified by Conservation International. Almost all the major coffee-producing countries are former colonies, and the problems inherent to colonization still haunt the industry. Deforestation continues in many countries- Current Trends

29 Current Trends- Gastronomy Rules

30 Current Trends- Biodiversity and Coffee

31 References and Credits 1. “Industria Cafetalera de Puerto Rico 1736-1969”, Luis Pumarada O’Neill, Ph.D., Office of Historic Preservation,. 1990. 2. “Maricao y sus Haciendas Cafetaleras”, Arq. Mildred González, Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, Mayaguez Regional Office, 2000. Provided most of the haciendas photos. 3. “Manual para la Producción y Exportación del Café de Puerto Rico”, Prof. Carmen Alamo, Esp. Miguel Monroig, Esp. Wigmar González, Alaba Brugueras, College of Agricultural Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, 2005. 4. “Inmigración y Clases Sociales en el PR del Siglo 19”, editado por Francisco A. Scarano, 1989. 5. “Libertad y Servidumbre en el PR del Siglo 19”, Fernando Picó, 1979. 6. “Amargo Café”, Fernando Picó, 1981. 7. “The Money of Puerto Rico”, Maurice Gould y Lincoln Higgie, 1962. 8. “Fotografías para la Historia de Puerto Rico, 1844-1952”, Osvaldo García, 1989. 9. Puerto Rico Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, 2005. 10. “Plan Integral de Recursos de Agua de Puerto Rico”, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, 2007. 11. “Panorama Histórico Forestal de Puerto Rico”, Carlos Domínguez Cristobal, 2000. 12. 13. 14. 15. “Puerto Rico Birds in Photographs”, Mark Oberle, 2003 16. 17. 18. 19. Natural Capitalism – Paul Hawken 20. Special thanks to Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, Mayaguez Office, Luis Pumarada O’Neill, Ph.D., and Prof. Carmen Alamo – University of Puerto Rico `

32 Some of the images presented in this document do not belong to Cafiesencia. They are only used for educational and informative purposes. These will not be used for profit purposes. The rest of the document is: ©CCPI, “Cafiesencia”, 2010

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