2013 scientific study, Thin Months Revisited, reveals
encouraging signs in Mexico and Central America coffeelands
WATERBURY, Vt.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR), in partnership with the
International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Agroecology
and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG) of the University of Vermont,
announced today the results of a 2013 scientific study entitled Thin
Months Revisited. The research reexamines the livelihoods
of smallholder coffee-growing families in Mexico, Guatemala and
Nicaragua to understand how farmer welfare has changed in comparison
with a 2007 baseline study in the same countries.
The 2007 study, led by CIAT researchers with participation from the
Keurig Green Mountain Supply Chain Outreach team, was intended to
determine the state of affairs for coffee farmers in Latin American
communities where the company sources its coffee. More than 100
smallholder coffee farmers were interviewed about their livelihoods and
researchers found that seasonal hunger was a major concern for the
company's agricultural supply chain.
"These results had a sobering effect on us and on many others in the
Fair Trade coffee movement," said Rick Peyser, Director of Social
Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach at Keurig Green Mountain.
Sixty-seven percent of the coffee farmers surveyed were experiencing
extreme food scarcity for three to eight months of the year, known as
the "thin months" or los meses flacos in Spanish. This
refers to a several month period when coffee earnings run out before the
next harvest, resulting in a time of seasonal hunger.
In response to these 2007 findings, Keurig Green Mountain established a
strategic, research-based and farmer-advised approach to combat food
security, with initiatives designed to increase home food production,
improve food storage capabilities, provide farmers with tools and
training to diversify income, expand access to market and increase
coffee yields from better growing practices. Over the past three years,
the company has directed more than $15 million toward food security
programming in its supply chain, with a particular focus in the three
research countries. Keurig Green Mountain has also galvanized the coffee
industry behind this issue through a film called "After
In 2013, with the help of ARLG, CIAT and Keurig Green Mountain returned
to Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua to interview many of the same
participants from the original study. The 2013 results show advancements
in food security since 2007, which may be partially attributed to
initiatives that companies like Keurig Green Mountain have invested in
over the past several years.
"Our study was able to provide a direct link between the projects that
Keurig Green Mountain funded and a reduction in the number of thin
months experienced by some families in Chiapas and Nicaragua. In Chiapas
specifically, families participating in food security projects decreased
the number of thin months twice as much as those who did not
participate," said Ernesto Méndez, UVM professor and lead of the
Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG).
"The new study offers irrefutable evidence that the situation had
improved for most families over the last six years, particularly with
respect to food security. Across study locations, the average number of
thin months has declined from 3.81 in 2007 to 2.83 today," said Peter
Läderach, a CIAT scientist and one of the research leaders. Some of the
improvements revealed in Thin Months Revisited included examples
of families who increased their number of income sources, often by
incorporating food crops in their farming activities.
By adding more diverse crops that can be consumed or sold, families are
more resilient to extreme changes in coffee prices and have steadier
incomes year-round. "Diversifying into other crops helps smooth
out household income across the year and makes families more resilient
to a volatile coffee market. A more resilient farmer will continue
producing coffee and supply us with the quality and quantity we need to
grow our business," said Peyser.
While conditions have improved since 2007, food security and other
aspects of social and economic development remain a serious issue in
Mexico and Central America. Not only do many farmers still struggle to
get through the "thin months," but they must also contend with the
growing pressure that climate change has put on the natural resources
needed by farmers to grow food and coffee. For this reason, in 2012,
Keurig Green Mountain committed more than $5.6 million in grants to food
security programs, benefitting over 200,000 individuals throughout their
supply chain in partnership with NGOs like CIAT, Catholic Relief
Services, Heifer International and Save the Children.
Keurig Green Mountain has a goal to engage one million people in its
supply chain to significantly improve livelihoods by 2020. To read the
full Thins Months Revisited report, please visit www.AfterTheHarvest.org.
About the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Working with partners across the developing world, the International
Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) - a member of the CGIAR
Consortium - develops technologies, methods, and new knowledge that
better enable farmers, especially smallholders, to enhance
eco-efficiency in agriculture - that is, make production competitive and
profitable as well as sustainable and resilient through economically and
ecologically sound use of natural resources and purchased inputs. With
headquarters near Cali, Colombia, CIAT conducts research for development
in tropical regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. www.ciat.cgiar.org.
CIAT is lead center for the program on CGIAR Research Program Climate
Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which helps smallholders
adapt to and mitigate the effects of rising temperatures and
increasingly unpredictable rains. www.ccafs.cgiar.org
About the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG)
The Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG) is a research group
within the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of
Vermont. ARLG research and teaching efforts focus on developing and
applying transdisciplinary approaches that analyze interactions among
agriculture, livelihoods, and environmental conservation in tropical and
temperate rural landscapes. Most of this work also utilizes a
Participatory Action Research approach (PAR), in an effort to directly
support conservation and rural development. For more information visit: http://www.uvm.edu/~agroecol/
About Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
As a leader in specialty coffee, coffee makers, teas and other
beverages, Keurig Green Mountain (Keurig) (NASDAQ: GMCR), is recognized
for its award-winning beverages, innovative Keurig® brewing technology,
and socially responsible business practices. The Company has inspired
consumer passion for its products by revolutionizing beverage
preparation at home and in the workplace. Keurig supports local and
global communities by investing in sustainably-grown coffee and by its
active involvement in a variety of social and environmental projects. By
helping consumers drink for themselves, we believe we can brew a better
world. For more information visit: www.KeurigGreenMountain.com.
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KGM-G, KGM-S, KGM-US
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
Sandy Yusen, 802-488-1462
Russell, +57 595 928 1525
Source: Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
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