How can we keep farming families from going hungry?

May 20, 2014

Imagine getting paid once a year for your job—at a price that’s always changing as a result of market forces. Would you be able to make the money last? Invest in your business? Feed your family? Many small growers across Central America—especially women, who do a large portion of the harvesting work on coffee farms—struggle to stretch their income and food stores until the next coffee harvest, particularly when coffee prices are low. To survive, some leave their families to work bigger farms. Others work just for food so they can keep their families fed. And almost all of them, along with their children, know what it feels like to go to bed without dinner.

To address these issues in our growing regions, we founded the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition in collaboration with our customers, other coffee companies, industry thought leaders, international NGOs, and regional farming collectives. Our team’s first effort focused on helping 150 farming families in Jinotega, Nicaragua build year-round financial security. In 2014, we plan to expand this successful program.

We also understand that wildly fluctuating prices for coffee, which plummeted to a six-year low of $1.01/pound in 2013 and then surged above $2/pound in the first quarter of 2014 hit small growers the hardest. For our direct trade portfolio, by paying fair and agreed upon prices to produce the best possible coffee, we’re rewarding our best growers with premiums that enable them to invest in their farms, their families and their own wellbeing.

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