The majority of people in YUS have difficulty generating household income. In spite of their remote location and the geographical obstacles of rugged terrain, families in YUS must find a way to pay school and health fees, and purchase the necessities of life in village markets or on rare trips to town.
In 2009 TKCP began partnering with local landowners to address some of these economic challenges, marking the beginning of new TKCP projects aimed at continuing to improve livelihoods and community resources for YUS landowners.
YUS Conservation Coffee
Though coffee has long been grown in YUS, rugged terrain has historically prevented a viable coffee market from developing in this particular region. Under this livelihoods project, YUS farmers grow YUS Conservation Coffee on small, sustainable plots and work together as a community to get their coffee beans to market. Through an existing relationship between WPZ and Seattle-based coffee roaster, Caffé Vita (www.caffevita.com), TKCP and the people of YUS are now able to bring YUS Conservation Coffee to the international market for the first time. The success of the YUS Conservation Coffee program encourages other landowners to pledge their land to the YUS CA. More land pledges mean more long-term protection for the YUS CA ecosystem, and for endangered species, such as the Matschie's tree kangaroo.
Unlike coffee, which grows in the high mountainous regions of YUS, the lowland areas of YUS have the potential to produce exceptional cacao beans and TKCP is working with a small, US-based organic chocolate company to determine if the international market exists for YUS chocolate. This livelihood opportunity would be a new and exciting way to increase local capacity and bring financial resources to a different region of YUS.