Coffee rust fungus threatens employment collapse in Central America

Publication date: 26 August 2014
Author: John Magrath, Program Researcher (Oxfam GB)

Coffee rust is having a serious impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of poor people in Central America who earn their income from growing coffee or working on coffee farms.

Rising temperatures due to climate change have encouraged the fungus to spread, however the fundamental problem is the underlying vulnerability of the sector, as coffee growers struggle with poverty, low prices and lack of government support.

Oxfam and partners undertook research on the impacts of the fungus on the livelihoods of workers and growers in six areas in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. 

This issue briefing presents key findings and suggestions on how to revive the sector and diversify livelihoods to reduce vulnerability in coffee growing areas of Central America.