Coffee Slump Reaps Bitter Harvest For Central American Migrants | 4/1/2019 | Staff
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LA COLONIA, Honduras/CAMOTAN, Guatemala (Reuters) – Toward the end of 2018, Honduran coffee farmer Mario Lopez paid a human smuggler, or coyote, to take him to the United States in a bid to escape the economic ruin engulfing him at home.

In mid-November, the coffee farmer and his 12-year-old daughter undertook a perilous 35-day journey up through Mexico after a collapse in international coffee prices destroyed the business that he had dedicated his life to, his wife told Reuters.

Husband - Debt - Coffee - Food - Carmen

“My husband had to emigrate due to debt and because coffee cannot even provide for food here,” said Carmen Andino at the door of their home, a modest adobe building in La Colonia.

Shortly before Christmas, Lopez and his daughter entered the United States.

Money - Wife - Children - La - Colonia

Since then, he has sent money to his wife and three children who stayed behind in La Colonia, a rural town in central Honduras dominated by cultivation of coffee, the country’s top agricultural export.

“With prices where they are, there is nothing to be done,” she added, looking at the plantations that once supported the family, now abandoned because they cannot be maintained.

Lopez - Story - Dozens - Coffee - Growers

Lopez’s story is typical among the dozens of arabica coffee growers Reuters spoke with across Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, who have swelled the ranks of migrants trying to enter the United States and stoked the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the first eight months of the current U.S. fiscal year, which began in October, the number of migrants detained or refused entry at the U.S.-Mexico border exceeded 570,000 – more than the total for all of the previous year.

Majority - Migrants - Central - America

The vast majority of those migrants were from Central America.

The region accounts for 10% of the world’s output of arabica, a high quality coffee bean used to prepare espresso and gourmet blends. The coffee business is worth...
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