Shade’s Benefit: Coffee Production under Shade and Full Sun

  •  Valdir Alves    
  •  Fernando Goulart    
  •  Tamiel Jacobson    
  •  Reinaldo Filho    
  •  Clarilton Ribas    


Coffee has major importance in tropical landscapes from agronomic, economic and ecological perspectives. Yet the conversion of shade-coffee into full sun monocultures has deep effect on the potential of those systems to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems services (such as pest control and pollination). Despite of this, effect of shade on production has not been sufficiently addressed, particularly in Brazil, the world major coffee producer. This study compared the performance of shaded coffee and full sun management in terms of productivity and production costs. The survey was conducted in Municipality of Mirante da Serra, in the Brazilian Amazon and eight coffee agroecosystems, four under shade and four under full sun were investigated. The results indicate that shaded systems have lower production costs requiring less working hours than sun plantations. The average production cost of shaded agroecosystems was 49.63%, while in systems under full sun, this value was 82.2%. Shaded and full sun productivity did not differ significantly, with higher variance in the former, showing that shaded systems are more heterogeneous. Shaded coffee agroecosystems presented an economically and environmentally viable alternative. The lower production cost enhances economic viability of these ecosystems in Amazon as well as in the rest of the tropics. Such efficiency may have influenced the persistence of these managements, despite the worldwide agriculture intensification tendency.

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