Last Updated on August 19, 2021 by Nick Baskett
Guatemala has started the process of leaving the International Coffee Organization (ICO) due to concern over falling coffee prices, a Guatemalan government official announced.
Coffee is the second most significant agricultural export for the Central American country, trying to recover from a 2012 roya fungal outbreak and the economic difficulties of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Guatemalan official stated that Central American countries were seeking options to help the coffee industry due to pricing concerns as global coffee prices are trading at low levels. Guatemala mainly produces Arabica.
The ICO said that it had not been officially notified of Guatemala’s plan to leave the International Coffee Agreement, but that it was aware some organisations in the country were dissatisfied with ICO’s handling of the pricing crisis.
The ICO, in a published statement, hopes that these rumours will not materialise, and it urges Guatemala to work with other members to develop a new agreement.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s report published in May, many of Guatemala’s small farmers present about 97% of producers. They have sustained losses in the current harvest despite premiums for the country’s coffee.
Ricardo Arenas, head of the directors at Guatemalan Coffee Association Anacafe, stated that the association had recommended that the government cut ties with the ICO as the international body did not do enough to protect producers’ interests.