Latin American Economy & Business Report

08/2020 - Worrying times for agriculture in Central America

On 2 July Guatemala announced that it had started the process of leaving the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), the London-based body that drives cooperation between almost 50 coffee-producing countries, amid concern for regional agriculture.

In a statement, the Guatemalan government led by President Alejandro Giammattei said it would withdraw from the ICO’s International Coffee Agreement, and therefore end its membership of the organisation. The decision was taken following discussions between the local coffee policy council (CPC) and the national coffee association (Anacafé) according to officials, who cited years of low income for the sector under the agreement. They also accused the ICO of not doing enough to deal with the problems facing the coffee sector, such as falling prices and inequities in the supply chain. “The prices paid to producers do not reflect the real value of the product and in many cases do not cover production costs, generating losses which have severely affected living conditions for coffee producing families in every producer country”, the statement says.

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