Mexican Coffee

Written by Linda Alexander
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The Mexican coffee industry has been struggling over the past five years. While gourmet coffee is more popular than ever in the U.S., more and more coffee farmers in Mexico are abandoning their crops because wholesale prices, mainly set by large corporations, are at their lowest prices in history. They are making no profit from their crops because coffee sells for half of what it costs farmers to produce it.

Over the past several years, Mexican coffee production has fallen nearly 40 percent. Farmers' incomes have fallen 70 percent. Thousands of small landowners have no power to demand better prices from the multinational corporations that buy most of the coffee.

There is also competition from Brazil and Vietnam, the world's biggest coffee producers. They are making inferior coffee, yet people are buying it. As a result, Mexican growers are either emigrating to the U.S. or looking for niche markets to sell in.

Free Trade Mexican Coffee

Social groups have tried to help the farmers by promoting certain products as "free trade." Specially labeled coffee, tea, and other products, often organic and made by small farmers, including Mexican coffee, may help alleviate the problem. By paying a little bit more, you are helping to ensure that Mexican farmers are being paid a fair price for their products and that they can feed their families.

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