Coffee review

Costa Rican government will increase fair compensation and welfare for coffee harvesting workers

Published: 2024-04-16 Author:
Last Updated: 2024/04/16, Thousands of immigrant coffee harvesters will now receive industrial accident insurance and increase the sickness and maternity insurance program launched in 2021, according to the National newspaper. All because migrant workers account for more than 75% of seasonal harvest workers in Costa Rica. Coffee as a long-term bastion of Costa Rican economy, coffee

Thousands of immigrant coffee harvesters will now receive industrial accident insurance and increase the sickness and maternity insurance program launched in 2021, according to the National newspaper. All because migrant workers account for more than 75% of seasonal harvest workers in Costa Rica.

As a long-term bastion of the Costa Rican economy, coffee plantations are slowly being phased out by new residential developments, reflecting an accelerated trend driven by unstable international coffee markets, a weak dollar, climate change and labour supply challenges.

Some exporters say that with global supply, coffee prices are likely to fall in the future, and the premium for Costa Rican coffee is likely to fall. In December 2023, the price of Costa Rican coffee was 65% higher than the market on average. However, the price has been falling from $3.20 per pound in January 2022 to $2.30 in December. And the dollar has fallen 27% against Costa Rica's Cologne in the past 18 months, eroding export profits.

At present, immigrants account for 75 per cent of the 20000 workers who follow the harvest season across Costa Rica, most of them from Nicaragua and some from Panama. During the intensive harvest months of November, December and January, these are all crucial. Usually involving entire families to support the entire coffee supply chain Costa Rica is committed to making growers more beneficial than intermediaries and exporters.

The manager of CoopeLibertad, a cooperative of nearly 1200 coffee producers in Costa Rica's Central Valley, said that in this challenging era, Costa Rican coffee must adhere to social and environmental responsibility, as well as high quality. Migrant workers today feel highly valued, give priority to the social sustainability of Costa Rican coffee, and enhance Costa Rica's reputation in the international coffee market. These things make us different in the world and provide fair and favorable conditions for pickers, which is also good for the coffee industry as a whole.

The Deputy Director of the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE) said that the establishment of fair relations in the industry was a unique legal framework. New insurance benefits have been designed for coffee workers, and health insurance was first offered three years ago to provide sickness and maternity insurance for pickers and their families.

In 2023, changes in weather patterns forced earlier harvests, disrupted seasonal workers' schedules and reduced fast production, and Panamanian protests blocked roads and blocked workers from Panama to Costa Rica. And Honduras has also seen a large number of immigrants, resulting in a lack of labour to collect coffee berries, creating a competitive relationship with Costa Rica. These conditions led to an estimated 12.6 per cent decline in the harvest, estimated at 1672881 bushels. It will be the smallest harvest in a century, less than half what it was in 2000. When the plan is implemented, it will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Costa Rica and benefit the development of Costa Rican coffee.

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