Socioeconomic Study of Smallholder Guatemalan Coffee Farmers

Conflict and Development Foundation Internship Report: 

Socioeconomic Study of Smallholder Guatemalan Coffee Farmers Affected by Coffee Leaf Rust Disorder

Intern: Taya Brown,  PhD Student in Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University

Project site: San Pedro Yepocapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala

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Research Objectives and Conflict Component:

The objective of my research is to provide evaluation of decision-making and socioeconomic gains made by small-scale coffee farmers as a result of receiving and implementing the new CLR-resistant coffee hybrid, “Centroamerica.” Through the World Coffee Research project titled “Sustainable incomes through coffee farming improvement project” six coffee farming cooperatives in San Pedro Yepocapa, Guatemala have been selected to receive enough plantlets to replant 1/6 of a hectare of their land in the new hybrid. These particular farmers were selected as participants because of the dramatic impact they felt from the recent CLR epidemic, both because this area was one of the worst hit and because coffee production is the main source of income in this region. Farmers in this area suffered unspeakably during Guatemala’s civil war. Their resilience and strength is now being tested during the post-conflict era and they continue to experience uncertainty due to the CLR crisis. A high percentage of growers are impoverished and civil conflict has been a very recent threat (at an average age of 55 years old, extreme conflict is well within the lifetime of most coffee farmers alive today). Access to resources is low in Yepocapa and therefore improvements in management techniques are extremely slow to actualize, while high altitudes, lack of access to varied markets and poor soil quality constrain their ability to diversify. 

Click on the link provided above to learn more about this research program.