Coffee farmers and their families can no longer afford basic necessities such as medicine, and are even cutting back on food. They cannot afford to send their children to school, so many children, especially girls, are missing out on their education. Children, farms and entire communities are increasingly being abandoned in many countries.
Coffee farmers are desperate to supplement their income and have turned to seeking outside employment. In Nicaragua, for example, some villages have seen almost all their men leave to look for jobs. The wives and children who are left behind have to eke out a meagre existence. They continue working on the coffee farm even though the money they earn from growing coffee is less than the cost of production.
Since international coffee prices have plummeted, the crisis has also forced thousands of small and medium producers in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to abandon their land and seek other alternatives to make a living. The majority of the coffee farms in these countries have been turned over to raising livestock operations. In El Salvador and Honduras, over 20,000 hectares of coffee plantations have simply disappeared.
Mennonite Mutual Aid Praxis Shareholder Advocacy for Fair Trade
Ten Thousand Villages