... how would you finish that joke? Unfortunately, for Costa Rican farmers, this issue is no laughing matter. Rather, it’s a conflict that pitches two of the largest agricultural communities of the country against each other in a perpetual feud. It’s the yeoman-versus-rancher battle you’ve never heard of. But new technologies might offer a solution that also contributes to Costa Rica’s climate change strategy.
In fact, this is how I first became aware of the story: I was co-organizing a workshop on the use of organic agricultural residues in energy production. Reps from all kinds of industries – pineapple, sugarcane, coffee, livestock, forestry – came together and talked about possibilities and hurdles to actually use the energy potential of these waste products. One of their activities was to brainstorm co-benefits of changing waste disposal practices. I was tasked with documenting the workshop and so spent my time weaving in and out the intensive discussions. Between snapping photos, I snatched up snippets of conversation. “Oh, and getting rid of the pineapple stems also reduces the flies!,” I heard. Makes sense, I thought to myself, fruit flies are icky. Little did I know that the issue was much more dire than just fruit flies.