There is a growing concern over climatic variability and price volatility in global markets for cash crops produced in developing countries.  One of the cutting edge questions in global change research deals with how to reduce risks and increase adaptation capacity of vulnerable farmers in impoverished areas.

Multiuse land

Research conducted by Catherine Tucker (CIPEC), Edwin Castellanos (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala), Rafael Diaz (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica), Hallie Eakin (Arizona State U), Helda Morales (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico), and Juan Barrera (El Colegio de la Frontera Sur)  focuses on identifying livelihood adaptation strategies of coffee growers as a response to market volatility, climate change and increase in pest proliferation.  It consists in a comparative case study about coffee growers from study regions from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica.  To achieve the research goals, a multidisciplinary research approach is used, with participation of researchers from various disciplines such as anthropology, ecology, and economics.  

Results thus far indicate that coffee growers have diversified their livelihood strategies even without support from government programs or development organizations.  A majority of farmers identified price fluctuations as the most severe challenge that they faced, even though they acknowledged that severe weather events (hurricanes, drought, torrential rainfall) and pests caused periodic damage to their coffee production.   Many farmers also reported joining organizations, seeking credit and looking for off-farm employment as strategies to mitigate risks.

This research has been supported by the Inter American Institute for Global Change Research.

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