Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day in Tarrazú

We’ve wrapped up yet another week of fieldwork in Tarrazú, with a second team from Ernst & Young working in the field as well as in the lab discussing strategies with officials from CoopeTarrazú aimed at increasing farmer participation in supplying coffee to the cooperative. This latter issue is complicated by the fact that independent coffee buyers sometimes offer very competitive prices to farmers for their premium coffee beans, luring them away from contributing their coffee to the cooperative, which can undermine the cooperative’s ability to deliver the estimated volumes of coffee promised each year to their own buyers.

The EY team gave a presentation to CoopeTarrazu officials on Friday, in which they did a terrific job of providing cost-benefit analyses of different levels of farmer engagement and pricing schemes, as well as offering up some innovative solutions/incentives for increasing member participation. This was a great way to cap off a week of terrific work from the EY team – looking forward to working with more EY volunteers in the future!
In the field, we finished sampling hymenoptera (bees & their relatives) in all twelve of the farms involved in the current study – in a few days, I’ll bring all of the specimens to the Universidad de Costa Rica, where I’ll meet with a colleague who is a specialist in hymenopteran taxonomy. In the meantime, I’m organizing lab equipment and supplies, preparing for the next group of teams and more fieldwork when I return here in July.

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