So far this year, according to the Department of Homeland Security, nearly 600,000 migrants, most of them families with children, were apprehended by agents on America’s southern border. More than 200,000 of the detainees were fleeing Guatemala, many of them coffee farmers risking their lives because of falling prices.
In Concord, White Mountain Gourmet Coffee sells a pound of Fair Trade Guatemalan coffee beans roasted on site for $12 to $14. According to an article in the Washington Post, in 2015 the commodity price of coffee was $2.20 per pound. The price this year: 86 cents. Guatemalan farmers grow premium shade-grown arabica coffee that commands a higher price, but one still well below the $1.40 average cost of production. Drought and a coffee fungus possibly fueled by climate change has afflicted farms in Central and Latin America, driving up the cost of production. Thousands of coffee farms in Guatemala alone have been abandoned.