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Abstract

The research addresses the economic problem of deforestation. A contributing factor to deforestation is coffee production. Coffee is an indigenous plant that is naturally occurring in the native tropical forests. However, conventional coffee is grown on cleared forest soil. In the native forest there is the potential for additional fruits (bananas, mangoes, avocados) and wood products while in the conventional coffee production system the only product is coffee. Conventional coffee production often causes deforestation and soil erosion while the organic coffee production system does not. In addition, the price risk associated with the coffee monoculture is high and has proven disastrous to the sustainability of coffee production in past years. Thus, determining the comparative cost and return between the two methods can provide important information for coffee producers. The purpose of the research is to determine the per acre profitability between conventional and organic coffee. This will be determined by researching the distribution of quantity on representative plots. This will help identify any size or scale economies. Determining the difference in profit per acre between organic and conventional coffee production included identifying and working with production stakeholders, engaging in fieldwork, site and case study selection, and determining measurable, non-market benefits and costs that pertain to environmental and community factors. This included, but is not limited to fertilization, water, pesticide use, and timber harvest.

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