CGN's First Coffee Project
In this project, CGN planted benguet pines, ipil ipil, alnus, calliandra seedlings mostly in barren land for reforestation. In addition, alnus and coffee seedlings were planted, using agroforestry techinique, in order to help improve the livelihood of farmers and facilitate environmental conservation. CGN also organized seminars and workshops on topics such as coffee cultivation, nursery establishment, construction of firelines (for suprresion of forest fire), watershed conservation, climate change and importance of forest conservation.
In Sagpat, the main source of income is cultivation of sayotes. Sayote is a popular cash crop widely grown in the mountain regions, and is called "Green Gold". However, because of big fluctuation in the market price, it provides only unstable income. Monocropping of sayote also contributes to pest outbreak. As sayote fields are created by clearing forests on slopes, it causes various environmental problems such as deforestation and soil erosion.
In Sagpat, coffee are grown under sayotes, using agroforestry method. While keeping sayotes, coffee trees can support the soil and also provide additional income to the farmers. Sayotes serve as shade trees to the coffee trees.
The project was successfully completed in March, 2007. After the completion, farmers continued working industriously on coffee cultivation. As a result of their effort, their coffee green beans were exported to Japan in 2009. This was the first fair trade coffee exported with a help of CGN. The farmers also grow seedlings of coffee and other trees in their nursery. They use the seedlings to reforest their lands and also sell them to have additional income.
In 2008, the farmers established Sagpat Young Farmers' Organization. Along with producing organic coffee, they are trying to shift to organic farming of other crops.
The community has also accepted many study tour groups mainly from Japan. In 2013, a group from Bunkyo Gakuin University (Tokyo, Japan) had a homestay program in Sagpat, and learnt about coffee cultivation and life of indigenous people through fellowship with the villagers.
While the yield of coffee is steadily rowing, but they are now facing challenges of pests and diseases as well. CGN invited Hirofumi Yamamoto, a Japanese coffee expert, and organized training on post-harvest processing and pets/disease management for the community.