Central America Coffee Growers Generate Biogas To Fuel Facilities And Kitchen Stoves

Nicaraguan coffee farmer, Fátima Blandón, cooking with biogas

Nicaraguan coffee farmer, Fátima Blandón, cooking with biogas . Photo by Yalí, Jinotega, Nicaragua, courtesy of UTZ Certified

Latin America produces around 70% of the world’s coffee and is the continent where 31% of the world’s freshwater resources are located. Yet coffee production generates a great amount of wastewater that is regularly released untreated into rivers, affecting aquatic fauna and flora as well as downstream communities. Additionally, coffee wastewater comes along with tons of organic waste and high toxicity that affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane.

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project, carried out by UTZ Certified (a program and label for sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea), has been implemented in a range of differently sized farms in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Cleaner production practices during processing reduced water consumption by 50%; installation of anaerobic systems to treat high strength wastewater treated all water used in coffee processing and generated methane used to run pulping machines, household kitchen stoves and lamps, etc. UTZ Certified is currently introducing the technology in Peru and Brazil.

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