Small Producer Organizations in Costa Rica Suffer Losses from Tropical Storm Nate

In the first week of October, Tropical Storm Nate passed through Central America. Having suffered the most damage, Costa Rica considers the storm to be the worst natural disaster affecting the region in decades; this in part, is due to the magnitude of damages caused in agriculture and infrastructure. According to the government, housing was damaged in one third of the country. It is also estimated that 124,000 hectares of land were affected by the storm, resulting in losses of nearly $20 million in coffee, bananas and other products.

According to the official report, the passing of such tropical storms has a great effect on the agricultural sector, and therefore small-scale producers. In the case of CLAC’s member organizations in Costa Rica, following a damage assessment, a total of six organizations have been impacted by the storm: ALIANZA, COOPEASSA R.L., COOPEAGRI R.L., COOPECAÑERA R.L., COOPETARRAZÚ R.L. and COOPROSANVITO R.L.

Fairtrade coffee organizations reported crop losses on behalf of cracking and sliding of land, making agricultural activity nearly impossible; the storm also caused coffee cherries to fall from the trees. Organizations such as COOPROSANVITO R.L. reported losses on 25 to 50% of their land. Of these, 47.4% was caused by landslides, while 36.8% resulted in the fall of coffee cherries. On the other hand, COOPETARRAZÚ R.L. reported the loss of coffee seedlings on more than 300 farms. Overall, the organizations have suffered structural damage, including damage to members’ homes and community access (roadways).

In relation to sugar cane production, crop damage has been reported by more than 20 producers. This will affect the total production of sugar cane for the 2018 harvest, with a possible 20% decrease in production.

In the wake of the storm, Fairtrade organizations in Costa Rica are joining forces to slowly recover at both organization and community levels. Small producer organizations are now faced with the need to better prepare themselves for such storms, and to prevent and reduce the negative effects of climate phenomena in their communities and on their farms, which directly affect their families. For this reason, we must raise awareness about climate change; and above all, identify and adopt better strategies, systems, technologies and production practices to adapt to the effects of climate change and ensure the viability of Fairtrade producers and their products.

Network of Peruvian coffee growers work in favor of fair trade based on principles and opportunities

During 2015, CLAC provided a total of 186 Small Producers’ Organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean with training in strengthening capacities in the areas of social compliance and children’s well-being. Along these lines, a workshop on these topics was held in November 2015 in Peru, in the northeastern region of the Amazons (Región Nor Oriental de Amazonas). In attendance were representatives of important organizations of coffee producers. The objective was to enhance knowledge regarding compliance criteria within Fair Trade standards, as well as to consolidate collaborative relationships for confronting the challenges that these topics present for our society.

As a result of this workshop, efforts began to build what is today a reality: a Network of Cooperation in the technical areas of Lonya Grande coffee organizations. The network is composed of the CECAFE, JUMARP and Montaña Azul cooperatives, which bring together over 1,150 families in Fair Trade Organizations from the Lonya Grande, Yamón, Camporredondo and Ocallí districts of the Amazons Region.

“Our initiative is a great opportunity for our coffee-producer families. We are supporting each other mutually and strengthening our ties within inclusive fair trade, with principles and with respect for our societies,” stated Elvis Huanca, the Network’s coordinator.

Currently, the network has invested financial resources from the fair trade premium in implementing activities such as posters on children’s rights and well-being, workshops on Fairtrade system standards, and social impact campaigns.