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.

Two Earthquakes shake Mexico

The southern part of Mexico had not yet recovered from the 8.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred shortly before midnight on Thursday, September 7th, when another strong quake struck on Tuesday the 19th at 1:00 PM; this time the epicenter was located 120 KM from Mexico City, with a magnitude of 7.1. The first earthquake impacted the Mexican states Oaxaca (around Isthmus and Tehuantepec) and Chiapas, estimating more than 100 people dead, 2.3 million affected and 5,000 buildings damaged, including homes, schools, hospitals and churches.

While the first quake primarily affected rural areas, the second had implications for urban zones, due to the proximity of the metropolitan area which inhabits more than 20 million people. In this instance, many buildings were destroyed, including schools and houses, burying people amongst the rubble.

Impact on Fairtrade Organizations

In the images, it is possible to observe the area affected by both earthquakes, as well as the location of all Fairtrade organizations in the region. Due to the first quake, Fairtrade coffee farmers and their families were affected in the vicinity of the mountain range “Sierra Madre del Sur” in Oaxaca, as coffee is produced around the outskirts of the mountains. Organizations have reported 500 houses collapsed. Among these organizations is UCIRI, a pioneer of Fairtrade. According to technical personnel, in the indigenous region of Zapotec, farmers’ houses have been damaged and cracked, leaving families fearful of collapse.

The second earthquake affected the central region of Mexico; this is where Fairtrade honey organizations are located, as well as agave and avocado. It is reported that one honey organization suffered warehouse damage and two members’ homes were severely damaged; these will soon be demolished by the government. Once the state of emergency passes, the National Fair Trade Platform in Mexico hopes to make additional assessments to quantify the total damages in a final report.


At a national level, extended families, communities and citizens have been responding in solidarity. Neighbors are supporting each other by sharing their homes. Temporary shelters have also been opened. Expressions of solidarity have occurred throughout the country; people have come together to deliver food, clothes and other supplies to collection centers.

There has been interest from various National Platforms and other Fairtrade organizations to show solidarity for Mexico by means of financial support, to buy construction materials such as sheets, cement and rods, supplies that are currently in high demand. All forms of solidarity and brotherhood are appreciated. Please consider donating to relief efforts for Fairtrade organizations in Mexico.

Voluntary donations can be transferred to the follow bank account of the National Fair Trade Platform in Mexico that gathers Fairtrade Organizacions.

Bank Information

Account Number: 0158691053
IBAN Code: 012180001586910534
Branch: 4118, Roma
Address: Durango #81, CP 06700, Colonia Roma Norte, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F., MÉXICO
Address: Guanajuato 131, interior 301, CP 06700, Colonia Roma, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F., MÉXICO

Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean: Wreaks Havoc on Agricultural Sector

In the Caribbean islands, Fairtrade organizations, members of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), were affected by the passing of Hurricane Irma.

Fairtrade producers on the Windward Islands suffered minor losses after strong winds and rain, according to the three organizations located on the islands. Dominica was also affected by the storm, with damage to 23.6% of hectares in production (i.e 290 hectares).

Unfortunately, Cuba has suffered the most damage from Hurricane Irma. On the island, specifically in the area of Villas, Santa Clara, reside four sugar cane organizations. Together, these organizations are made up of 509 small producers with a total area of 2,746.65 hectares in production. There is still much uncertainty about the flooding, and the current conditions of the region due to power outages, lack of water and inability to communicate.

CLAC has not yet made contact with the organizations; however, a contact person in Havana is working to find out the current conditions and calculate losses caused by the hurricane. It is estimated that up to 60% of the harvest has been lost.

In the Dominican Republic, the northern region suffered the most damage; specifically the provinces of María Trinidad Sánchez, Valverde and Montecristi. Most affected products include banana and cocoa. In banana, there are a total of 30 small producer organizations and 20 plantations. There is been an estimated damage of 30% of Fairtrade banana production, equivalent to 4,000 hectares of land. The six Fairtrade cocoa organizations are distributed throughout Nagua, San Francisco de Macorís, Castillo, La Milagrosa and Puerto Plata. Though they did not suffer major losses, 26% of cocoa crops were affected by rain water and high winds (16,367 hectares). The worst losses were reflected in diversified crops, such as avocado and lemon, corresponding to more than 18% of the organizations’ production.

All of the above reinforces the need for us to join together to strengthen the formation and training of Fairtrade producers, so that they can become more resilient to climate change and face the challenges that it implies.

“Irma’s damages, coupled with the damages caused by heavy rains in November 2016, have serious consequences for the income of producers and their families, putting future sustainability at risk.”
Marike de Peña, BoardPresident, CLAC

CLAC continues to monitor the conditions of the affected areas, in order to assist producers and provide them with necessary support.

Solidarity with Peru: Small Producer Organizations Affected by Heavy Rains

Since mid-March, the northern regions of Peru, Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash and Lima have been affected by heavy rains. These rains are due to the climate phenomenon “El Niño Costero,” which is characterized by high temperatures, coming from the Pacific Ocean off the northwestern coast of Peru. From the evening of Wednesday March 22nd to Thursday March 23rd, the country experienced the longest and most intense rains in 34 years. This was followed by even greater rains from Sunday March 26th to Monday March 27th.

The damages caused by these rains have been surveyed by various entities, including the National Banana Board, the Irrigation User Board and the Agrarian Agency of Chira of the Regional Directorate of Agriculture in Piura. The latter made the following statements regarding the specific damages to the banana sector:

  • 100 hectares flooded (at risk of permanent loss if waters are not cleared in 72 hours). The government is looking for ways to import motor pumps to clear water as quickly as possible.
  • 1,000 hectares affected (although not completely submerged by water, could face serious damages).
  • 297 kilometers of roads and trails blocked, making it impossible to harvest, pack, process and transport bananas. The government machinery is insufficient and does not operate in high waters.
  • 70 hectares flattened and eroded by river waters.

Alarmingly, the forecast for this week is calling for even stronger and longer-lasting rainfall. For now, government entities are evacuating populations, providing shelters and tents, and delivering food and water by boat. In the most affected region, Piura, the regional government reported on March 27th that 35,000 individuals have been affected and 10,000 more evacuated. The rains are expected to continue until mid-April.

Unfortunately, in Piura, 35 Fairtrade banana organizations have been affected by the rains and flooding, representing a total of 7,000 small producer families. The organizations are located in the Chira Valley. The president of the National Banana Board and substitute member of CLAC’s Oversight Committee, Mr. Valetín Ruiz Delgado, said that “rains can affect the banana sector in several ways, as they cause soil erosion, flooding on plantations, as well as damage to roads, preventing the passage of vehicles to transport fruit from the field.”

CLAC would like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with all small producer organizations and people affected by the damages caused by the heavy rains and flooding. In addition, we want to call on all people and organizations that wish to support in this difficult time, in which producers are again affected by the impacts of the changing climate. Support for affected organizations will be channeled through the National Fair Trade Coordinator in Peru. Bank account details and more information can be found below.


BANCO CONTINENTAL – BBVA – Agencia Arenales – Cercado de Lima

Número de Cuenta Corriente Dólares: 0011 0147 0100070200 69

Código Interbancario: 011 147 000100070200 69

Nombre de la Cuenta: Coordinadora Nacional de Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo – CNCJ – PERU.

RUC CNCJ – PERU: 20515109847

Dirección: Jr. Ramón Dagnino N° 369 – Jesús María – Lima – Perú

Código Swift: BCONPEPL


¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero 2017!




Haiti, after Hurricane Matthew

More than 1,000 have been reported dead since Hurricane Mathew struck Haiti on October 4, 2016, according to a recent article published by Reuters. With winds as strong as 230 km/hour, the hurricane was classified as a category 4 on the international scale. The current death toll, as released by the Haitian government and local authorities, continues to grow as rescue teams have not yet reached all affected areas. Haiti has been the most severely affected by Hurricane Mathew, the strongest to hit the Caribbean in the last decade. Nearly 30,000 Haitians are in temporary housing facilities, while another 10,000 remain without shelter.

It is estimated that the total damages, both to Haitians and their homes, have left more than 60,000 displaced. Authorities are currently prioritizing the hardest hit communities, in order to prevent the possibility of a cholera outbreak similar to that which followed the 2010 earthquake.

Producer organizations are also suffering from the hurricane. Five organizations, representing 50% of Haiti’s National Fairtrade Platform called KOSEA, are located in the country’s most affected region. More than 6,000 members have lost their homes, harvests, and animals; fortunately, no human lives have been lost.

APCAB and COOPCAB, two coffee organizations in the southeast region of Haiti, were moderately affected. Fruit (bananas, avocadoes, citrus) harvests were lost, in addition to part of October’s coffee harvest. There was also damage to coffee processing facilities.

Organizations that experienced severe damages include ASPVEFS (mango), CACVA (coffee), and CAUD (cocoa), all located in the southwest region. 85% of roofs were damaged or lost due to high winds, and 70% of all producers are in temporary housing facilities, many lacking basic needs and safety. In the Caribbean, hurricane season extends through November, leaving Haitians at risk for other tropical storms.

In solidarity with Haitian communities, CLAC is making a call to action, to support the producer organizations that have suffered losses from Hurricane Matthew. When faced with humanitarian crises such as this, it is important to act as quickly as possible. In the short term, there is an urgent need for water, food, clothing, medication, personal hygiene items, and building materials. However, more support will be required to rebuild and repair homes, and manage crop damage.

Although we cannot control natural disasters, we can take action to support those affected. If you are able, please make a donation to CLAC using the below account information. All proceeds will go directly to the fair trade producer organizations affected by the hurricane in Haiti. Once you make a donation, please send a copy of the transaction to for processing. CLAC will provide an audited report regarding the use of the resources.

Bank Information

Name: Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Address: 1500 Ave. Ponce De Leon 2do Piso Pda. 22
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00909
ABA: 021502011

Organization Information

Account #: 004057546
Address: Avenida El Boquerón y Calle Ayagualo, No M1-A, Ciudad Merliot, La Libertad, El Salvador.
Telephone: 503 2278-4635, 503 2124-4376
NIT: 0614-250705-106-6

Impact of Hurricane Mathew in Colombia

Hurricane Mathew struck the northern coast of Colombia on October 1, 2016. In the departments of Guajira and Magdalena, strong winds and torrential rains have left nearly 14,000 people affected.

Critical damage can be seen in municipalities Aracataca and Zona Bananera, in Magdalena. Strong rains in the Sierra Nevada disproportionately increased river flow, causing heavy flooding in the surrounding areas. In Zona Bananera, Mayor Holmes Echeverría indicated that the tragedy most heavily hit the towns of Seville and Guacamayal, where river flooding has affected nearly 7,000. Both rural and urban areas were submerged in more than two meters of flood water; however, thanks to early warning and disaster response agencies, the population was able to evacuate in ample time.

It is important to note that this region has been repeatedly affected by extreme climate conditions in recent years, such as long-term drought and high wind damage from another hurricane that struck the area. How can we measure extreme weather conditions? Who can be prepared for a natural disaster of this size?

“Nearly all of the community is facing damage. We have never experienced anything like this; this is greater than the flooding of 1999. The river overflowed the preventative bank we recently built and 70% of the municipality has been affected by flood water,” said the mayor of Aracataca.

In this region CLAC has six member organizations, all of which are banana cooperatives. At the heavily hit COOBAMAG Cooperative, more than 500 people have been affected, including producers, works, cooperative employees, and their families. Flooding also impacted producers and workers at COOBAFRIO, COOMULBANANO, and EMPREBANCOOP.

“This turbine is an investment that was made at Finca Buen Retiro, costing nearly 40 million pesos (approximately $14,000 USD), and it’s underwater. We can only hope that it will continue to work with minor repairs,” said Fredy Rodríguez, manager of COOBAMAG.

Now is the most vital time to reinvent ourselves, and take into account these signs from nature. Our decisions and efforts should be focused on being more aware, more capable, more united, and above all, more strategic in our future. CLAC is currently working to promote discussion of environmental issues, and to create a climate change adaptation plan; however, the problem is much greater than CLAC and its members. It is going to take the power of influencing the wider community, raising awareness amongst youth, and generating real alternatives to climate change to prepare for inevitable situations such as Hurricane Mathew.

In colaboration with local-level organizations in Colombia, CLAC is working to provide support to the organizations and associations affected by the hurricane. If you are able, please make a donation to the Colombian Initiative of Small Fair Trade Producers, using the below account information. Once you have made a donation, please send a copy of the receipt to


BANK ADDRESS: Carrera 8 N° 1N 60



ACCOUNT NAME: La Iniciativa Colombiana

LA INICIATIVA COLOMBIANA ADDRESS: Carrera 9 2-32 Barrio San Francisco, Popayán, Cauca, Colombia.

NIT: 900815504-3



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El Salvador: young producers begin project for mitigating effects of climate change

Young people from the La Fortuna/APECAFÉ Cooperative in El Salvador and CLAC signed an agreement for a project entitled “Recuperation of ecosystem and protection of groundwater reserves in the La Fortuna coffee and balsam cooperative.” The aim of the project is to implement measures to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Cooperative, with active participation by young people, with a firm commitment to maintain an ecosystem in sustainable conditions. The project is minimizing environmental impact by planting native trees, specifically species identified in the zone for their ecological and commercial importance.

Teresa de Jesús Buendía, hija de socio de la cooperativa, y firmante.

“We are experiencing the effects of climate change, and as young producers, we need assistance in seeking ways to minimize the impact on us. It is important that we are taken into consideration in terms of the processes that organizations are using to improve the situation in communities and to ensure the survival of cooperatives,” stated Teresa de Jesús Buendía, a daughter of a member of the La Fortuna Cooperative in El Salvador, during the signing of the agreement between the cooperative and CLAC.

Gabriel Marroquín Choto, a specialist in forest systems, is assisting the project as a volunteer. He will provide follow-up for the construction and maintenance of greenhouses, the collection of seeds, and other activities involved in reforesting the areas identified. He will also work to strengthen the group of youth participants, to apply the knowledge they have acquired in the project.

“We very much liked the proposal because it came directly from young people. It is a project that will help us to care for our environment, and work in the area of climate change and environmental sustainability, and it will be young people who will play the central role. This is an initiative that can signal a change in the future for the benefit of our organizations,” stated Xiomara Paredes, CLAC’s Executive Director.

The signing of this agreement is a commitment based on mutual interest, to apply knowledge acquired, and to seek a better living situation for the cooperative’s families and communities. “Our cooperatives have the vocation of caring for the environment—the aspects where work is needed—and for us, this project will contribute to a change. And if we don’t open up these spaces to our young people, this may end up collapsing,” commented Ricardo Puentes, President of the Salvadoran Network (CESPPO).





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A life of commitment and loyalty : Aimeth Fernández

Aimeth Fernández Angulo stood out for her passion and commitment for smallscale banana producers in her native Colombia and for her work with the the global Fair Trade movement. Aimeth’s leadership strengthened ASOBANARCOOP – a cooperative in Magdalena, Colombia – where she worked hard to ensure that Fairtrade could make a difference in the lives of banana farmers, families, colleagues and community.

The ASOBANARCOOP Cooperative was her home for 29 years, serving as manager, using her experience as an economist, extensive knowledge of quality management systems (QMS), and extensive experience in business management.

Aimeth, the daughter of a cooperative founder, volunteered as a youth, and then worked as head of administration, eventually becoming the cooperative manager, where, among her many efforts, she made sure that the organization met certification standards. She was a member of the Education Committee responsible for training programs funded with Fairtrade Premium, and worked directly with health and environmental programs targeting at-risk people, children and adolescents. To Aimeth, ‘ASOBANARCOOP was her life’ as she said many times. She is remembered by her colleagues as a cheerful, loving and kind woman who always had a smile and a sincere hug; qualities that stood out and won the respect of all who knew her in the organization.

Aimeth was also promoter of ASOCOOMAG, an umbrella organization for several banana cooperatives in the region. In that role she helped develop direct marketing channels so that small producers could achieve greater profits selling their fruit.


Her influence went well beyond Colombia’s borders. In March 2014, Aimeth visited England for the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign where she made a keynote presentation on the life of banana farmers and how Fairtrade has made a difference in their communities. During her tour, Aimeth also visited schools and shared about how buying Fairtrade bananas helps to support producers and workers in developing countries, ensuring a dignified and fulfilling life.

During the Fifth CLAC Assembly held in El Salvador in November 2015, she was elected as a representative of the Banana Network in Latin America and voted to the Board of Directors of CLAC. Her goal was always to make the small producer more visible, and their voice heard in the global Fairtrade system.

Today, we deeply regret her passing (September 12, 2016). However Aimeth’s work, dedication and spirit remain in the hearts of all who have heard and learned from her experiences, challenges and achievements on behalf of banana farmers and all smallscale farmers and workers. She leaves a legacy for new generations who saw her speak and live Fair Trade principles in their daily life.








Paraguayan Fair Trade Network positions itself in relation to the national government

With the objectives of debating the situation and prospects for sugar cane in Paraguay, developing a strategic-participative planning process for using available resources, and promoting sugar cane production in the country, the Paraguayan Network participated in the public hearing organized by the Agriculture and Livestock Commission of the country’s House of Representatives and the national Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

Diego Cabral, a representative of Cañeros Orgánicos Asociados (CORA), believes that sugar cane is very important in family agriculture, as it directly generates a source of work for over 10,000 producers. “We are talking about approximately 50,000 people directly benefitting from sugar cane.”

The Network presented the situation at a plenary session, with information prepared in coordination with Paraguay Orgánico and the Paraguayan Chamber of Organic Producers (Cámara Paraguaya de Productores Orgánicos—CPROA). One of the presenters, Andrés González, a representative of the Manduvira Sugar Industry and Cooperative, emphasized sugar’s importance as a Paraguayan export product. “Paraguay ranks number one as a producer and exporter country, and has a positive presence in the world’s best markets, due to organic sugar, which is a healthy product that reflects respect for and caring for the environment,” he stated.

At the end of the event, the Inter-institutional Sugar Cane Sector Working Group was established, with participation by government institutions and the Paraguayan Fair Trade Network, as well as representatives from the industrial sector and producers from other sugar cane organizations in the country.

According to the most recent survey data from CLAC, there are 13 small producers’ organizations in Paraguay that are Fair Trade certified for sugar cane production. For a general panorama of the sugar situation in Latin America and the Caribbean, please visit our SUGAR INFOGRAPH at INFOGRAFÍA DE AZÚCAR.