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How Did Coffee Effect On Latin America

1247 words - 5 pages

How did coffee effect on Latin America?
Coffee is increasingly becoming a part of Western culture for many it has become a daily routine and coffee shops are now a common social meeting place. Since coffee shops are getting popular and built at every half block in many downtowns, it may not be surprising that coffee has become the second largest traded commodity next to oil (Watson and Achinelli 2008). As the consumer steps up to the register and orders their four-dollar latte, “it is most likely that they will not think of the more than 25 million people around the world who base their livelihoods on its production” (Watson and Achinelli 2008). The producers of these coffee beans are often ...view middle of the document...

Many countries in Latin America were hard hit by the coffee crisis, and the producers’ adaptations to the loss of income were varied. In Mexico between 1989 and 1993, farmers lost 70 percent of their farming income. Non-governmental organization and other grassroots organizations reached out to Guatemala in particular to provide support and encourage crop diversification and development of organic coffee. Many farmers in Latin America sell their beans to intermediaries and have become dependent on these middlemen to decide the price of coffee and to sell their beans. The producers then have little knowledge or control of the prices of their beans. “Intermediaries will most often not buy based on bean quality so farmers are not rewarded for growing better quality coffee” (Eakin et al 2006).
The impacts of coffee production in Latin America are as varying, as they are vast. The methods of production and adaptations to changing market have common themes of both negative and positive outcomes. Regions such as Guatemala do provide a general idea that the local changes and crop diversification have improved stability for farmers’ lives.
Brazil’s history with the coffee industry has been longstanding, beginning with the crop’s entry in 1727 from French Guiana and entering the international coffee market in 1822 when Brazil gained independence from Portugal’s colonial rule (Watson and Achinelli 2008). Brazil has now developed into the largest coffee producing country. As an independent nation, from the 1850’s to the 1960’s, coffee already made up 55% of all the Brazilian export revenue. The Brazilian government was highly involved in developing and supporting the production of coffee. The value of investing in Brazilian coffee production continued into the 1970’s as the state provided research on high producing and technical advances in production and credits and subsides to support coffee farmers.
The small-scale farmers crops affected by their situation and their way of life is also impacted. Rosário da Limeria (Brazilian municipality located in the state of Minas Gerais) is made up mostly of small-scale farmers. The farmers live in small homes they build themselves, most do not have electricity or running water, and the farmers own very few possessions. Farmers in Rosário da Limeria are uneducated as only 66% have completed primary school and Rosário da Limeria has the lowest literacy rates in the state. Even though Brazil invested in infrastructure for coffee farming, this is not fully experienced by farmers in Rosário da Limeria. Transportation is also lacking in the area, often forcing families to share a horse and cart. After the farmers harvest their coffee, they must immediately sell their beans,...

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