Stand With Coffee Farmers! Oppose Nestle's Agribusiness Expansion!
Nestle has announced plans to build a $154-million-dollar coffee processing plant in Veracruz, Mexico and increase Robusta coffee production. The deal is getting promoted by Mexico’s new President Andres Manual López Obrador (AMLO) as a job creation opportunity, but coffee producers are not buying the hype. They point to the fact that coffee prices have been hovering around $1/pound, well below the cost of production, and to the subsidies that multinational Nestles’ stands to receive, even as the most recent budget slashes support for coffee farmers.
Nestle’s instant coffee factory is designed to process low-quality Robusta coffee, the variety grown on monoculture plantations, cultivated without shade. Robusta coffee has a long legacy of ecological destruction and poor returns for farmers and farm workers. Much of the coffee grown in Mexico comes from family farmers tending small plots of land and growing coffee as part of a diverse mix of crops. The widespread planting of Robusta coffee will displace small-scale farmers and undermine agroecological coffee systems.
Meanwhile, small-scale coffee farmers around the globe are facing dire circumstances. Historically low prices, the lingering impacts of la roya coffee rust (a fungus that is destroying crops), climate change are all adding up. Migration pressure is building, especially in Latin America. Small-scale farmers urgently need investment and support. And even as farmers struggle, Nestle reported profits of $7.3 billion dollars last year. They are not the ones who need support.
Coffee farmers’ organizations are demanding that the Mexican government support farmers’ efforts to build healthy coffee communities, promote domestic consumption of small-farmer grown coffee and use public funds for true rural development. Send a message to Mexican President Obrador to let him know you support them!