Producers in Latin America have been struggling to recover from a severe coffee leaf rust breakout since October 2012. It is believed that the breakout was caused by variations in the climate conditions, attributed to climate change. 


Coffee is very sensitive to temperature and humidity which affects the crop’s phenology, reducing its quality and production. Compounding the situation, old coffee plants, deteriorated soils, and lack of good crop management for many years have weakened the coffee plants, making them more vulnerable to plagues and diseases. Small producers are further disadvantaged, often lack the technical knowledge and the necessary resources to adapt.

Fairtrade International with their local partners’ have turned this crisis into an opportunity to improve the capacities of young people through Leadership Schools. Young producers involved in the training report that they have enhanced their capacities to lead teams, talk in public and participate in different spaces with their organisation. Each young producer also replicated the training and shared their knowledge with 10 other producers.


Already, benefits are being observed:

  1. None of the Small Producer Organisations reportedly had to apply for a loan or have been forced to sell productive assets to overcome a natural impact within the last calendar year.
  2. Improvement of the organic coffee productive systems, implementing climate-smart agricultural, yield and post-yield practices. 69% of the participants were able to reduce the damage and loss in arable land.
  3. 80% of the young people who took part in Leadership Schools training report they have enhanced their capacities for leadership and climate change adaptation. 100% of these promoters 100% of these promoters have adopted and replicated knowledge to 10 producers each.
  4. Dissemination and replication of good practices and lessons learnt during the implementation and evaluation phases of the project.


October 21, 2020 — Kashmira Lal