Updated: Feb 6
Let's talk about the importance of bees! Alongside coffee, we encourage farmers to grow plants that flower a lot and encourage pollinators. By attracting pollinators, i.e. bees, we give nature an amazing opportunity to diversify as well as yield better quality coffee crops.
Although Arabica plants are known to be grown at a high altitude - above 1200 meters - and are self-fertilising (without requirement of bees for pollination), studies have shown that when bees are around Arabica plants coffee fruit harvest can increase! This also includes the crop quality too, as in addition to transferring pollen they can exist within coffee plantations as a functioning ecosystem. However, agricultural advances in the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides have had a huge impact on increased coffee bean yield but with a large environmental consequence in drastically reducing biodiversity.
As the World Coffee Research Institute has reported, coffee often has limited genetic diversity and we need to preserve and encourage cross pollination as a way to keep the gene pool diversified for future generations. Therefore, we encourage our farmers to use organic farming methods in order to encourage pollinators in coffee farms as much as possible.
There are numerous ways farmers can help do this, namely by introducing flowering trees and fruit trees which can provide flowers all year around. Leaving some untouched nature can also be beneficial for allowing bees and other wildlife to flourish, especially when avoiding the use of chemical sprays, genetically modified crops and using wholly organic methods which can provide a safe environment for bees to survive.