The problem with organic fertilizers is that there is a bad synchronization between the availability of nutrients and the demand of the crops. This is because organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly and not necessarily at the times when crops require them. This means that growing organic coffee is slower because nutrients take time to be released, slowing down the growth rate of the plant. The use of inorganic fertilizers instead, allows faster plant growth because it is modified to maintain a higher yield. Inorganic fertilizers must be purchased but less inorganic fertilizers can be used because they are more concentrated than organic.
Farmers may choose to combine organic and inorganic fertilizers, which appears to maximize the yield of cultivated land and thus lessen the need for further expansion of agricultural land. An alternative that is emerging strongly is vermiculture. The cultivation of earthworms with the aim of increasing the number of worms and using them in the degradation of organic waste and converting them into rich fertilizers and soil conditioners. This process is known as vermicomposting.