As a principle, I believe that we learn better from direct experience than from books and data and graphics. And as a matter of experience, I know that traveling to the coffeelands can be a source of endless illumination about the secret lives of coffee farmers. Nothing helps us understand the vulnerability of poor households […]
Our work in the coffeelands over the past 10 years has focused on small-scale family farmers, but we recognize that the seasonal laborers who pick coffee, often migrants, are arguably the most vulnerable actors in the coffee chain. And there are a lot of them. According to PROMECAFE data, more than 1.7 million people work […]
Three years ago during the 2010 SCAA Expo, I gave this presentation on hunger in the coffeelands. At that time, the issue did not have the kind of traction in the industry it does now. Many people in the audience were still struggling to reconcile the extraordinary success of “sustainable coffees” in the marketplace with […]
The application of climate science to coffee has generated an inconvenient truth: the map of the coffeelands in Mesoamerica will be redrawn over the next 40 years, and by 2050 the specialty coffee map will likely be much smaller than it is today. Against the backdrop of the current coffee rust epidemic in Central America, […]
A noted coffee breeder at the French research institute CIRAD has suggested that the coffee leaf rust emergency in Central America is the result of a “perfect storm.” Is there a silver lining anywhere in those storm clouds?
My colleague Jefferson Shriver is an advisor on issues of agroenterprise and climate change for CRS programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is based in Nicaragua, where he has lived and worked on-and-off for the better part of 20 years. Over that time, he has collaborated with many of the country’s leading coffee […]
Today the 5 de junio cooperative celebrates a birthday. The coop, comprised of some 500 determined farmers in the rugged Nicaraguan highland town of Las Sabanas, was a CRS partner under the CAFE Livelihoods project. Counter Culture is helping to mark the occasion by telling the 5 de junio story and making 5 de junio’s […]
On Tuesday, I announced here our involvement in an FT4All innovation pilot with independent smallholder farmers in Nariño, Colombia. Yesterday, I explained here how our involvement came to pass. Today, I discuss why Nariño might be the best imaginable place in the world for this pilot. And why it might be the worst.
Yesterday I participated in an online forum on the future of smallholder Fair Trade hosted by the Fair Trade Resource Nework. My presentation, in synthesis, went something like this: Fair Trade and Fair Trade Certification have catalyzed smallholder farmer organization and empowerment over the past decade through their support for farmer-led cooperatives. But there are […]
The final data for the CRS Coffeelands Blog for 2011 are in. Google Analyticator tells me that the Fair Trade USA split from Fairtrade International was the year’s top storyline — related posts took the top five spots. Here are the 10 posts that were most frequently visited in 2011: 1. Paul Rice makes the […]