When the coffee rust crisis hit Mexico in 2012, production across the country fell by 70 percent, severely affecting smallholder coffee farmers who contribute 90 percent of Mexico’s coffee production.
There were strong arguments for getting out of coffee: high investment costs, negative yields after pulling up old trees, lack of access to suitable and healthy
seedlings, and high demand for expertise and labor. Additionally, price and production fluctuations left farmers in high-risk and vulnerable situations.
It was in this environment that Exportadora de Café California (ECC) designed and implemented a program to secure the sustainable production of Mexican coffee and improve thousands of farmers’ livelihoods, enabling them to continue growing coffee for years to come. ECC’s vision was to reposition coffee production as the main driver of the social economy in coffee regions. Thriving farming communities are key to the long-term success of the company—and of the regions.