Photo essay: Farmers’ F1 hybrids in Guatemala
World Coffee Research and Anacafe provided farmers in rural Yepocapa with seedlings of Marsellesa and Centroamericano varieties in 2016; the first harvests from the plants are expected to begin in a few months.
All photos by Devon Barker
In the town of San Pedro Yepocapa in Guatemala’s Antigua region, smallholder coffee farmers were hit hard by an outbreak of coffee leaf rust in 2012-2013. The rust crisis exacerbated an already tough economic situation in Yepocapa, which is Guatemala’s fourth-poorest municipality, with 70 percent of farmers having incomes of less than $2 a day.
Since 2016, World Coffee Research (WCR) and Anacafe have been working with 179 farmers in Yepocapa to provide them with rust-resistant varieties as well as providing education on farming economics and coffee mill wastewater management. These efforts aim to create a sustainable approach to revitalizing family coffee farms and livelihoods in the area. Major funding for the project has been provided by Starbucks Foundation.
The project has distributed two improved varieties in Yepocapa—a rust-resistant Sarchimor called Marsellesa and an F1 hybrid variety called Centroamericano—and is studying the impact of improved plants. The trees are now in their second year of life at the farm, and the first harvests are expected this year.
Photographer Devon Barker was recently in San Pedro Yepocapa to visit the area’s smallholder coffee farmers. These images capture some of the farmers he met and their perspectives on the new varieties.