Coffee farmers confront many challenges, especially given a coffee crop's long, vulnerable maturation time and sensitivity to sunlight, temperature, drought, and fungus. It's a long and risky journey from the soil to your cup!
Coffee cherries and climate change
Climate change has led to unpredictable weather patterns in the last several years, putting farms at risk of decreased production or total devastation. Unusually heavy rainfall, unexpected dry spells, and abnormally high temperatures all threaten the health and life cycle of coffee trees and cherries — and the future of coffee entirely.
On top of that, climate variability allows other threats, like damaging insects and fungus, to thrive in an unprecedented way and cause large-scale damage. One of the biggest problems for farmers right now is the presence of coffee leaf rust, or la roya, which is a fungus that spreads rapidly and ravages coffee plants. Many coffee farms across Central America have already experienced substantial losses due to rust and are struggling to survive and move forward.
Want to learn more? Read a reflection on coffee rust in Guatemala from Equal Exchange coffee buyer Carly Kadlec and a related New York Times article.
Red Cherry Challenge
Our good friends at Equal Exchange are aiming to raise $15,000 for the Red Cherry Fund, which will support farmers in El Salvador and Guatemala, two regions that have been most affected by climate change. This program will finance farmer-led initiatives that focus on farm resiliency and address local climate-change-related challenges. The result: innovation and problem solving by the people who know the land and its particular needs.
When you participate, 10 cents per pound of coffee you buy this year will go to the Red Cherry Fund! All Equal Exchange coffee sales from the Good Buy made through May 2015 will count toward the goal of reaching 150,000 pounds! You can also have your community group or church make their own pledge by signing up your organization today!
Photos courtesy of Equal Exchange.
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