Thursday, 17 March 2016

Help make a difference to impoverished families for the price of a cup of your favourite brewed beans. #WithOxfam

I start each morning with a cup of coffee brought to me in bed by my lovely husband. I have been known to indulge in a creamy syrup laden cuppa while out and about too (yes I'd like chocolate powder on top- why are you even asking?)


I have a nifty machine in my kitchen which will make the perfect expresso or machiatto. OK I confess. I love coffee - but I had never heard of coffee rust.

 Millions of people in Central America reply on coffee production for an income and that income can be wiped out by this devastating fungus called coffee rust which is on the increase.

Oxfam coffee rust

visible signs of coffee rust #WithOxfam

Scientists believe the rapid growth and geographical spread of the fungus is down to global warming. Crops are being wiped out which does not only affect the farmers but everyone involved in coffee production.

Oxfam told me about Pedro whose life and that of his family revolves round coffee.

Pedro and his wife Maria (names changed) live with their 4 children aged 11, 9, 5 and 2 in Plan Del Socorro, Western Honduras.


Coffee workers

Their home is small and basic, with 2 rooms and a corrugated roof. The house sits at the top of a hill that can only be reached by foot. They have no toilet facilities and collect their water from a nearby well.

Pedro is a coffee cutter and agricultural labourer. He provides the income for the whole family. This year, due to climate change and coffee rust, coffee production in Honduras has been severely impacted.

 For Pedro this means it’s been much harder for him to find work, and the producers are paying less than they did in previous years. His earnings have reduced from £3.50 (120 lempiras) to £2.90 (100 lempiras) per day.

Each member of his family is living on less than £1 per day which means feeding the family is incredibly difficult.

Maria said: "Sometimes we don't eat so the kids can. When food runs out the kids just eat tortilla and salt. They ask for more food. I feel so sad when they are asking for food and I can't give it to them."

As a mum of 7 this breaks my heart. We have been through some tough times and there have been times when I haven't eaten so there is more for my children but they have never been reduced to eating tortilla and salt! Or worse, nothing at all.

Oxfam is determined to help people like Pedro and Maria pick themselves up and start again, growing new coffee rust resistant plants using new production techniques to grow better organic coffee.


Coffee plants #WithOxfam

The charity is bringing local community groups together to promote sustainable farming, to better cope with a changing climate and to influence authorities to do more to protect lives and livelihoods. 

The project builds skills, knowledge, and improves women’s participation in decision-making activities to ensure long-term change. (just like I wrote about last week when I told you about Joygun the Bangladeshi chilli farmer.)


Henri Hererra, President of Pedro's local coffee cooperative (pictured below) is delighted with the results of the project so far.

He said: "Coffee rust arrived here three years ago due to climate change. It spread and destroyed our arabica crops, but we’re recovering with new plantations."

He added:" We’re improving ways of growing our coffee with great support from Oxfam, producing organic compost and creating better, organic coffee.”


coffee cooperative #WithOxfam


"Thanks to Oxfam, we are implementing new coffee production techniques to make organic compost. We can make plant feed and we can use it in our farms to fight the coffee rust and other diseases.” 

OK so what can coffee lovers (and those who can't stand the stuff but want to help fellow humans!) in the UK do to help. 

If you donated £3 a week -just about the same price of your favourite beverage in your local CostBucks- you could prevent families going hungry for one year. The more you can donate, the more good you can do which will give you the same warm fuzzy feeling inside as a cuppa without the caffeine.

One-off donations are always welcome of course but Oxfam is hoping people will sign up for regular giving which helps the charity respond to emergencies and stay to help people rebuild their lives. They want to change lives and transform communities for good.


£3 each week is enough to help farmers like Pedro to provide for their families.
£20 is enough to buy seeds for a family to grow rust- resistant coffee and earn a good living for a whole year.
£40 is enough to pay for everything a farmer needs to replant with new coffee seeds and tend the land for a year.

You can click here to find out more and donate at Oxfam's website.

Disclaimer: I was not paid or rewarded to write this post.


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