Keurig Green Mountain study finds coffee farmers go hungry

A Keurig Green Mountain study has found that seasonal hunger is still a major concern for smallholder coffee-growing families in Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. More than 100 coffee farmers were interviewed about their livelihoods for a study Keurig Green Mountain conducted in partnership with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG) of the University of Vermont. The recent study was then compared to a baseline study conducted in 2007 to see how the situation had changed for farmers. In 2007, 67 per cent of the coffee farmers surveyed experienced extreme food scarcity for three to eight months of the year, known as the thin months. This refers to a several month period when coffee earnings run out before the next harvest, resulting in a time of seasonal hunger. “These results had a sobering effect on us and on many others in the Fair Trade coffee movement,” said Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach at Keurig Green Mountain, in a statement. In response to the 2007 findings, Keurig Green Mountain established initiatives designed to increase home food production, improve food storage capabilities, provide farmers with tools and training to diversify income, expand access to market and increase coffee yields from better growing practices. In 2013, with the help of ARLG, CIAT and Keurig Green Mountain returned to Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua to interview many of the same participants from the original study. “Our study was able to provide a direct link between the projects that Keurig Green Mountain funded and a reduction in the number of thin months experienced by some families in Chiapas and Nicaragua,” said Ernesto Méndez, UVM Professor and lead of the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG), in a statement. According to the study, while conditions have improved since 2007, food security remains a serious issue in Mexico and Central America. Watch a trailer for the Keurig Green Mountain film After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands

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