Coffee is not Enough
Most coffee farmers are dependent on coffee alone, a product that provides inadequate income, yet they lack the resources needed to invest in alternatives. Even though the cooperatives we work with produce fair trade, organic-certified coffees, most families have insufficient land to produce enough coffee to achieve an adequate livelihood.
The small-scale coffee-farming families these co-ops represent live on as little as $0.50 per person per day, far below the Global Poverty Line of $1.90. In Guatemala, annual food costs for a family of five totaled $5,616 in 2018, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística Guatemala. The farming families at Maya Ixil reported an average net income from coffee of just $900.
To make up some of this gap, many farmers leave their communities to labor on large farms and in cities, or seek work in the U.S. Even in Colombia, considered a middle-income country, coffee farmers are unable to cover their production costs and feed their families. Our partner communities there report that 30% of families have been unable to meet their basic food needs.