Friday, February 17, 2006

Coffee farmers hopeful, not so henequen farmers

Two stories from the Houston Chronicle demonstrate that Salvadoran farmers, like farmers everywhere, are often subject to market forces and government policies beyond their control. The first story describes how the Salvadoran coffee industry is trying to develop a raise its profile for excellent coffee. The country's reputation for coffee was overshadowed for years by the civil war, but now a growing world market for gourmet coffees and the bourbon variety of coffee bean, offer opportunity for some coffee plantations.

Traditionally coffee pickers place the harvested beans in bags made from henequen fibers. The second story highlights the plight of the henequen farmers, whose market is shrinking as synthetic fibers replace henequen. In 2008, a tax on plastic will expire, making it more economical to make bags for coffee out of plastic and destroying the henequen market even more.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heard on the news the other day that much of the coffee harvesting is being done by Nicaraguans coming to El Salvador to work to send money home to their families. The reason, many of those of working age in El Salvador have either left the country or are receiving more money from family members living in the exterior. The amount of money sent to El Salvador yearly, I think I heard a statistic the other day that was in the millions.

Tim said...

You are correct. I have written about that before, most recently in this post..

gudipudi said...

even i mentioned about that issue in other blogs as well

James said...

I have found your site very interesting. Please give the updates.

Cheers,
James
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http://www.coffeebreakusa.com/