More than twenty years ago Dieter Nottebohm and his wife Holly bought a verdant coffee farm nestled between two of Guatemala's tallest volcanoes. When word of the Rainforest Alliance's work with coffee farmers spread to the Nottebohms they were intrigued. Still, they knew that it would require a substantial commitment on their part -- one that they knew would be difficult to afford with coffee prices at such dismally low levels.
Since 1992, Chiquita Brands International, the company that invented the banana industry, has been gradually reinventing it, one farm at a time. That transformation has been guided by the Rainforest Alliance and its partners in the Sustainable Agriculture Network, a coalition of environmental groups in eight tropical nations.
This report is one part of an analysis of shade coffee as a component of biological corridors in
western El Salvador, part of a USAID-financed project to improve watershed management and
conservation. This report addresses a concern that the costs of gaining coffee-farm certification
would far surpass the monetary benefits of certification, preventing widespread adoption of the
conservation practices required for certification.