Mar 28 2011

Japan earthquake affects Guatemalan coffee exports

Luis CocÛnLuis CocÛn, CFCA communications liaison in Guatemala, wrote to us recently about how the tragedy in Japan is affecting Guatemala’s foreign aid and coffee exports.

The consequences of the recent earthquake in Japan stretch far beyond its borders if you consider that Japan is one of the principal economic powers in the world.

In 2010, 15 percent of Guatemalaís total coffee production was exported to Japan, the second biggest market after the United States, according to the National Coffee Association of Guatemala.

These exports were valued at more than 300 million quetzals ($39.1 million).

Guatemala is home to more than 88,000 children, youth and elderly members sponsored through CFCA, the largest concentration of sponsored members among the 22 countries where CFCA works.

Many families in the CFCA program in Guatemala earn a living from coffee.

The impact doesnít just involve the coffee industry. In 2010, the Japanese government sent more than 600 million quetzals ($78.3 million) in foreign aid to Guatemala.

It is clear that things like coffee imports and aid to other countries such as Guatemala are not a priority for Japan. Its efforts understandably will be focused on recovery and reconstruction for quite some time.

Nevertheless, Guatemalan coffee cultivators are very uncertain and the Guatemalan people will surely be affected.

We hope for the best. More than anything, we pray for the complete and rapid recovery of the Japanese people.

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