Gorgonosa National Park, based in Mozambique’s Great Rift Valley, is making use of coffee to save its tress. Mount Gorgonosa has been described as “looking pockmarked” due to its big loss in verdancy, and a project being run by the National Park itself is working to ensure that its widely-known lush greenery comes back.
The project, called the Gorgonosa Project, kicked off in 2013. Here, a group of farmers planted 15 000 seedlings among the forests’ native tree population to help the park’s reforestation efforts. Today, about 200 000 coffee trees are being planted annually, along with 50 000 trees.
The full 100% of the Gorongosa-grown coffee’s profits are ploughed back into the National Park and those who live in the surrounds.
“It should be noted that in recent years, there has been significant growth in coffee production. The project had its first harvest in 2018 with about six tons of green coffee, having grown to eight tons in 2019 and to 12 in 2020,” according to the project.
Coffee production rocketing
“Currently, the project works with more than 800 local farmers and a considerable part of these already harvest coffee in their own fields. For the expansion of production fields, the Coffee Project guarantees the supply of coffee seeds and seedlings for them. It should be noted that the Gorongosa Coffee Project has also been training several technicians, especially local young people, to support the monitoring of coffee production, harvesting and processing, in order to guarantee its quality for the national and international markets.”
The project also wishes to assist those, who have recently moved to the surrounds of the Gorgonosa National Park, to expand its support programmes into other areas as well, pending meetings with local officials.
“Children, youth, and adults who are new to the area and living near Gorongosa National Park receive classes in reading, writing, math, sports, financial management and other classes as part of the program. Others engage in the Park’s health care initiatives, growing coffee and cashew, and fish farming,” the park said.
Reaching out to families
It also has a Priority Families programme, which is specifically for families who have been impacted by natural disaster, civil disaster and/or have children as the heads of the household.
“The Priority Families initiative has been carrying out activities to support ten education and primary centers since 2021 and is funded by the Gorongosa Restoration Project, the Embassy of Portugal and other funding organisations.”
Gorongosa National Park was regarded as one of Southern Africa’s greatest protected areas in the 1960s and early 1970s. It was famous for its wealth and diversity of species. Civil war and extensive poaching killed wildlife and ruined tourism infrastructure when Mozambique gained independence in 1975. The Gorongosa Restoration Project was established in 2008 by the non-profit Carr Foundation as part of a 20-year agreement with the government of Mozambique to restore the park to pre-conflict levels.