Banco de Occidente recognizes FNC’s Cenicafé’s water conservation efforts

One of Colombia’s largest banks has awarded the country’s coffee research arm the Blue Planet Prize for its work in resource management. The National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé) received the award in recognition for its projects dealing with water protection, conservation, and water sources recovery.  The Blue Planet (Planeta Azul) Prize 2010-2011, whose theme was ‘water a source of life’ was given by Banco de Occidente, one of the country’s largest banks. The award recognizes: “Development processes that contribute to the balance between communities and the ecosystems they live in,” according to a Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC) press release.   The Blue Planet Prize was granted to Cenicafé for “building the model for an integrated water resource management within Colombia’s coffee growing industry, which foments water conservation, prevention and control of water pollution, and sustainable practices for the use of water sources,” the press release stated. To avoid the contamination of water sources with nitrates, sulfates, and phosphates, the press release noted that the research performed by Cenicafé has reduced the use of pesticides and agro-chemicals in the coffee cultivation process. This is possible thanks to the renovation of coffee crops with Arabica varieties resistant to coffee rust, the implementation of an integrated management of coffee pests and diseases and the maintenance of the soil’s productive capacity and natural fertility. Another of Cenicafé’s fields of action includes the stabilisation of water sources and the reduction of erosion in Colombia’s coffee regions. Initiatives include the reforestation, such as activities in the watersheds of the middle and upper basins of the Cauca and Magdalena Rivers and the increase of sustainable forest practices and ecosystem protection. Cenicafé´s developments for the rationalization or eradication of water use in the different stages of the bean´s wet process have reduced water consumption from 40 liters to less than 5 liters per kilogram of parchment coffee produced for certain coffee growers, the press release noted. Becolsub technology was reported to have decreased water consumption to less than 1 liter per kilogram of dry parchment coffee. The responsible management of wastewater from coffee processing is another of Cenicafé´s priorities. Based on an integral treatment, the Research Center has worked to reduced the harmful impact of wastewater in Colombia´s soil and water sources.

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