With the unabated march of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic situation of Colombian coffee farmers is rapidly deteriorating. The price of Arabica coffee has reduced to an exceptionally low $0.9 per pound in June. Earlier, coffee production had fallen by 28% in April, 12% in March, 9% in February and 19% in January. Specialty coffee farmers too are experiencing difficulties in the form of shortage of experienced coffee pickers. In specialty coffee, coffee cherries are picked at the peak of ripeness. But with the absence of expert pickers, “Coffee cherries left on the tree will over-ripen or fall to the ground, effectively nullifying all the additional work put into the coffee to achieve the higher quality.” This labor shortage has been partly caused by the pandemic-necessitated closure of Colombia-Venezuela border which has significantly blocked the flow of Venezuelan migrants. 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants reside in Colombia and their contribution to Colombian coffee sector is indispensably important with nine out of ten coffee pickers in Colombia being Venezuelans.
The great reporter Edward R. Murrow titled his 1960 CBS documentary Harvest of Shame on the merciless exploitation of the migrant farmworkers by the large growers and their local government allies. Over fifty years later, it is still the harvest of shame for nearly two million migrant farmworkers who follow the seasons and the crops to harvest our fruits and vegetables.
PressTVGlobalNews·Jan 12, 2013
They are family farmers, their loved ones and supporters, all in favor of a farmer’s associations lawsuit against the agriculture and biotechnology giant, Monsanto.
In March 2011, a group of farmers filed a suit against Monsanto, the purpose of which is to be protected from the company’s suing them for patent infringement, should some of Monsanto’s seeds contaminate the farmers’ crops through natural causes like cross pollination and seed drift.
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Biotechnology is changing the way farming is done all over the world. Advocates believe the “New Green Revolution” is the only way to provide sufficient food for the world’s growing population while opponents raise environmental concerns and fear that GMOs drive small-scale farmers off the land. Bitter Seeds explores the controversy — from a village in India that uses genetically modified seeds to U.S. government agencies that promote them.
fooddemocracynow on Dec 11, 2011
On December 4, 2011, farmers and activists from across the country joined the Occupy Wall Street Farmers March for “a celebration of community power to regain control over the most basic element to human well-being: food.” Maine organic farmer Jim Gerritsen spoke to a crowd of more than 500 farmers, food workers and sustainable food and agriculture activists about his role in the Public Patent Foundation lawsuit against biotech seed and chemical giant Monsanto. Gerritsen made his first trip to New York City to share his concern about the loss of organic seeds to genetic contamination and the threat this poses to farmers and our food supply.
Oct 2, 2007
SO FAR AWAY FROM GOD
In Mexico they have a saying: “Poor Mexico. So far away from God and so close to the United States.”
Recently their was a conference in Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico about NAFTA and issues of trade between Canada, Mexico and the USA.
The meeting was attended by Stephen Harper, the Prime minister of Canada, Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, and low level officials of the United States.
In Mexico thousands of people are murdered every year by gunshot. To Americans and Canadians this doesn’t seem terribly frightening or out of the ordinary.
Considering that firearms arms are illegal in Mexico, except for a few permits issued for hunting rifles, the death by handguns and assault rifles is scary.
At the conference President Calderon complained that the United States wasn’t doing enough to stop the flow of arms into Mexico.
The Americans complained about the constant flow drugs and people into the United States.
President Calderon countered that if there wasn’t a huge demand for drugs in the United States, there wouldn’t be anyone supplying the drugs.
The situation is more complicated than the statements made by Calderon and the officials from the United States.
Historically Mexico has had little if any problem with its population using illegal drugs. However, with the huge demand for drugs in Mexico and the various cartels supplying those drugs, the number of people using illicit drugs has risen dramatically.
Manny of the gun related murders in Mexico are directly related to the drug cartels fighting for turf.
The United States has a trade surplus with Mexico that has escalated dramatically since the advent of the passage of NAFTA in 1993.
After the passage of NAFTA it is conservatively estimated that over 12 million formerly self sustaining small Mexican farmers have been forced off their land because the they can’t compete with subsidized corporate agriculture imports from the US.
Many of these displaced farmers have illegally migrated to the USA.
It is only after the passage of NAFTA that the numbers of undocumented workers entering the United States of America have gotten out of hand.
That number would have been much worse if all the displaced farmers in Mexico had left the country.
Many of them with no desire to leave their country of birth sought economic relief by turning to raising the lucrative cash crops of Marijuana and opium poppies.
A very conservative estimate of the value of illicit drug entering the US through Mexico is $74 billion a year.
If Mexico were to totally eliminate the illicit drug trade, the people producing these crops and those involved in the distribution of those crops, would be forced to do something to survive.
The logical assumption is that these people would vote with their feet by illegally migrating to the USA, making the current immigration problem seem minuscule.
The only parties that have benefited from the passage of NAFTA are corporate interests and corrupt high government officials in Mexico (the President of Mexico at the time of the passage of NAFTA was Carlos Salina de Gortari, a Harvard trained PhD. Economist and arguably the most corrupt Mexican President ever. This is saying a lot in a country where their presidents are known for being crooks. One can only assume that Salinas was a more proficient crook because of the Harvard education he received).
The workers in Canada and the United States have seen their wages cut and their standard of living drop.
The blight of the poor and rapidly shrinking middle class in Mexico is obvious.