Water Smart Agriculture:

The Blue Harvest Experience

This first knowledge webinar was led by Catholic Relief Services' staff who talked about their experience implementing this ambitious, successful project in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, their vision and milestones.

About the webinar

Blue Harvest is a program coordinated by Catholic Relief Services as part of CRS’ Water Smart Agriculture initiative in Central America. With funding from the Multilateral Investment Fund’s SAFE Platform and Keurig Green Mountain, the program focuses on protecting and restoring drinking water sources in coffee lands of Central America by promoting sustainable coffee production and processing practices. 

When poor agricultural practices are used, coffee production can be a driver for deforestation and water pollution. Blue harvest works directly with coffee producers to provide technical support and resources to ensure that farms implement best practices that not only protect water sources but also improve farm productivity; in turn increasing potential earnings for farmers.

Under the belief that good coffee management is good watershed management, Blue Harvest’s experience shows that besides technical solutions, the integrated water resource management requires working with multiple actors to strengthen the political, social, economic, and administrative systems that exist to manage water resources and water services.

This webinar discussed issues on water Smart agriculture, together with useful tools developed and implemented by Blue Harvest. Practical examples were presented on efficient water use and treatment in the project's intervention areas.

Topics include:

  • What is Blue Harvest? The concept and the Central American Program. Background and primary components, and impacts being generated in the region.
  • Water Smart Agriculture - The backbone to resilience and sustainability in the field- What is it and examples of how Blue Harvest is applying it.
  • Blue Harvest Water Benefits Calculator- A planning and evaluation tool designed to measure hydrologic impacts from different water-smart agricultural practices. 
  • Water use efficiency and treatment in Coffee Mills - How we can improve the situation / Examples from the Blue Harvest countries
  • Price Risk Management in the coffee sector to protect farmers’ livelihoods - How we are applying this in Blue Harvest now and in future.


Maren Barbee is the Regional Manager for the Blue Harvest Program in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Maren has worked for over 10 years in environmental nonprofit management and consulting in Central America, and her professional experience includes solid waste management and the implementation of coffee milling wastewater systems.

Kraig Kraft is the Technical Advisor for Coffee and Cocoa for the Latin America/Caribbean Regional Office for CRS.  Kraig Kraft has worked in Latin America on agricultural development issues for the last 12 years, including the adaptation of sustainability metrics for the private sector.

Paul Hicks is the Senior Technical Advisor for Water for CRS (Catholic Relief Services) in Latin America, with nearly 20 years’ experience in water resources management and agricultural development. Paul was in charge of leading the design and launch of the Blue Harvest program.

Wendell Erazo is the Regional Value Chain Coordinator for Blue Harvest CRS.  Wendell has over 10 years of experience in local and regional development projects primary based around coffee supply chain, from farm to export.

Future events: