For decades, American sanctions against Cuba have left farmers without the access or means to pay for chemicals and machinery required for modern coffee production. Now, with the market for organic coffee taking off, Cuban shade-grown, organic coffee is turning out to be hugely popular in Japan and Europe. Coffee production is a major cause of rainforest destruction, as trees are cut down to accommodate sun-grown trees and to provide firewood for drying ovens. Without much fuel, In Cuba they still dry coffee in the sun on concrete pads- a process that takes 20 workers two weeks when you could dry them in a wood-burning dryer in 24 hours. Pruning and weeding is done by machete, and the coffee is grown among banana and grapefruit trees, planted to diversify the plantings and create the right shade conditions.
World Wildlife Fund Canada and CIDA (the Canadian International Development Agency) created a program where we can buy coffee with 25 cents per pound going directly to programs and sustainable equipment like solar driers. "Its more than just buying organic. This is about putting your latte toward a structured program to maintain high environmental standards in Cuba while improving the conditions of working farmers there" says David Zavislake of Merchants of Green Coffee, a Canadian importer. ::Merchants of Green Coffee from ::Greenliving by ::LA