For the past few harvests, low commodity prices have led to a significant impact on Honduran Coffee farmers. Additionally, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has worsened their situation. Marcos Lozano, export manager at COMSA mentioned, “we had great expectations at the beginning of the season because good coffee prices always motivate small farmers, but this didn’t last long as coffee prices began to drop in January of this year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has really challenged small farmers in Honduras, along with other factors such as the low price crisis, migration, and climate change. It’s worth mentioning that Honduras has more than 120,000 small coffee farmers that their main income comes from their coffee production.
The COVID-19 Impact on the Honduran Coffee Supply Chain
Honduras is the largest coffee producing country in Central America. However, the pandemic began to affect the country just as the coffee harvest season was coming to an end, interfering with several contracts and delaying the export process. The authorities at the Honduran Coffee Institute declared that by May 2020, there would be a 7% year over year decline in coffee exports. These circumstances have presented new risks and challenges for small coffee farmers.
With many access roads being closed, there is an increased probability of their trucks getting stuck with a full loaf of coffee. Meanwhile in Taiwan, coffee shop owners and roasters have found ways to experiment during the coffee bean shortage as other supplying countries are facing the same challenges. Key factors such as communication, quality control, and logistics have been disrupted during the pandemic, so we must rely on the trusting relationship we’ve developed with the farmers.
Low Price Crises Impact
When the Honduran harvest season began in October, market prices seemed to be promising. By mid-January, prices began to fall, altering the commercialization process as many negotiations were to be settled in early 2020. Coffee is the leading agricultural product in Honduras, representing 30% of the Honduran agricultural GDP and 5% of the National GDP, according to a study conducted by the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE). The low price crisis has threatened coffee production levels in Honduras and small farmers have been left without the resources they could count on in previous seasons.
This situation has interrupted the operational process of crucial activities such as fertilization, employment, and general farm maintenance. Some coffee farmers are hoping to rely on other crops such as corn and beans, while others are fleeing the country in search of better opportunities. With the Honduran economy relying so highly on coffee production, government assistance (and integrated communication from all the players in the coffee supply chain) is crucial now more than ever.
Is there a hope for Small farmers ?
Zircle Coffee ( Green coffee bean importer ) is aiming to help several producers, as our team in Honduras speeds up the coffee export process. Over the years, we’ve been working with several specialty farmers, some with extensive experience than others but with two common factors, quality and passion for coffee.
As tough as the situation may be, we believe that we have built a sustainable business model and direct relationship with coffee producers, so that our customers in Taiwan can still rely on our work that we can provide specialty coffees that fit their needs and standards, at the same time, we enable our farmers to maintain a business relationship that produces a stable income year by year.
在過去幾個產季之中，期貨市場價格嚴重影響宏都拉斯的咖啡農民們，而今年，新冠肺炎(Covid-19)的來臨更是讓整個情勢加劇。馬科斯 洛薩諾(Marcos Lozano)，COMSA處理廠出口的負責人這樣說道 “在產季開始之前整個市場價格走向看起來是樂觀的，而好的市場價格也讓小莊園的農民們產生動力，但直到一月，市場價格開始下降，我們期待的心情也跟著隨之而去。”新冠肺炎(Covid-19)對產區的農民們真的產生極大挑戰，同時也伴隨著其他的因素，像是低價格的危機，移民和氣候變遷等等...。