Coffee Employment in Doubt
As you will know dear reader, green coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity after crude oil – and some 25 million people rely upon this sacred crop for their living…Whilst of course, many billions more, cannot function, but for the peace, sanctity and harmony – especially first thing in the morning – that a wonderful caffeine candy lift delivers!
However, in Central America, there are concerns about employment levels and sustainability, as various funguses have attacked the crop and thrown short term economic viability up in the air!
For example in El Salvador, 70% of the crop has been affected by Rust or La Roya and the wider result of this is that in Central America a staggering 437,000 coffee workers are now jobless
The ICO is now busying itself with relief programs to ensure that there is no tidal wave of agricultural immigrant workers into the conurbations – but with approximately 2 million of the regions 43m inhabitants employed in coffee, this may be a tsunami of economically staggering proportions
What are the options?
Well in Guatemala, workers are being encouraged instead to move to highway maintenance projects – where they can earn $5 a day – which is just less than half of what they could have earned in coffee production…makes you think again about Fair Trade claims doesn’t it??
Meantime in Honduras the government there has pledged $85 million to fight the disease – which it says could reduced GDP by 1.7%…the light at the end of the tunnel may well be seen now in Colombia, where four regions have at last been declared rust free- hallelujah!!