Today's paper in san Jose Costa Rica
Coffee Corps will help famers with technical advice
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Agency for International
Development is providing seed money for a new volunteer
program to address the crisis faced by small coffee farmers in Latin
America and in nations elsewhere which rely heavily on coffee for
the majority of their export revenues.
The agency said Tuesday that it will work with the non-profit,
California-based Coffee Quality Institute to improve the livelihoods
of coffee farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs in developing
countries and to establish a "Coffee Corps" to help ensure a reliable
global supply of quality coffee.
The Coffee Corps volunteers will develop projects to address the
business needs of small coffee farmers. Potential projects may
range from consulting on post-harvest processing improvements to
environmental issues. The volunteers will be experts in the coffee
industry who are willing to share their time and talent with coffee
farmers and coffee communities. The agency said it will provide
initial funding for the program, while the coffee institute will pay
for volunteers' travel and basic living costs during their
assignments, which will typically run for about two weeks.
Agency Administrator Andrew Natsios said the partnership with
the coffee institute is an "innovative way to address the crisis
facing small coffee farmers around the world."
Natsios said the volunteer program will rely on the "expertise,
technology and resources of private corporations and others to help
poor countries grow out of poverty." He added that "by mobilizing
top-level expertise on a volunteer basis from U.S. coffee
companies, the coffee corps program will help small farmers
improve the quality of their production and tap into high-paying
markets that would have been inaccessible to them."
The agency said
that the crisis has hit such regions as Central
particularly hard, because an oversupply of coffee on
world markets has
driven coffee prices to historic lows and caused
great hardship to
the area's coffee producers and coffee workers.
agency assistant administrator for Latin America
Caribbean, said that in the last year Central American coffee
about $1.5 billion while 600,000 coffee workers
lost their jobs.
Franco said last
month that his agency signed in 2002 a quality
with Panama, the Dominican Republic and five
countries in which the agency will provide $8
million for a
program to assist small and medium-sized coffee
improve coffee quality and form new business
program will also secure longer-term contracts with
coffee industry and identify and implement crop
options for producers who cannot be competitive.
Franco said his
agency's effort to form partnerships with private
organizations will help coffee-producing countries
affected by the
sharp fall of world coffee prices.
For instance, an
agency agreement with Green Mountain Coffee
Vermont will support the development of small- and
coffee producers that are environmentally, socially
Franco said the
agreement "will improve livelihoods and incomes
farmers and their communities while maintaining a
of coffee in the range of qualities demanded by
in requesting Coffee Corps assistance may
organization on-line at:http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://www.coffeecorps.org.homeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast