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Biochar trial in Tanzania achieves stunning results

Source: Global Coffee Report Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Global Coffee Report Magazine

A trial in Tanzania of the effectiveness of a highly porous charcoal made from organic waste has demonstrated its potential to significantly improve coffee yields while reducing input costs.

Project Black Earth, which was run by US-registered non-profit Radio Lifeline in partnership with with Tembo Coffee and MIICO, a network of community-based agricultural development organizations based in Mbeya, compared the efficacy of biochar with more conventional farming approaches.

Six mature coffee plots were treated with various combinations of biochar, compost and different formulations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
(NPK) fertiliser, with weekly results monitored by field technicians and agronomists associated with Tembo and MIICO.  In a separate trial, coffee seedlings planted in both full sun and shade were treated with applications of either biochar or NPK to evaluate the impact of biochar on the early stages of coffee tree development.

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