You know the idiom: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Passing on knowledge is one of the best gifts one can give.
I thought about this as Carlos Mario Rodriguez — Starbucks’ director of global agronomy — and I went to visit a number of villages in Sumatra’s Diari district west of Lake Toba. We were there to meet with farmers and understand the training and capacity-building CI is leading in the region, which aims to help farmers mitigate and adapt to climate change (PDF–334.05 KB). This work has been made possible thanks to a generous grant from Starbucks itself.
Carlos Mario walked with my colleagues and me through a number of coffee farms of different sizes, conditions and productivity levels. He spent hours listening to the farmers and sharing with them his recommendations for keeping coffee berry pests at bay, managing low water supplies and planting shade trees in time for a productive harvest, among other things.
Whether the farmers knew it or not, they were being taught to “fish” (or in this case, farm) by one of the foremost experts in coffee farming in the world. It was a humbling experience for me to witness, especially since Carlos Mario told me several times how important it is for him to help farmers improve their lives.
Read the rest of this article on CI's blog: http://blog.conservation.org/2012/07/farmer-training-essential-to-fight-climate-change-impacts/