Lack of manpower threatens harvest
PANAMA. The coffee harvest will reach its peak at the end of September and the Ministry of Agriculture expects a total production of 11...
PANAMA. The coffee harvest will reach its peak at the end of September and the Ministry of Agriculture expects a total production of 11,567 tonnes.
Last year’s harvest yielded a total of 11,204 tonnes.
The biggest problem producers face is with the labor force because traditional collectors, Gnobe Bugle Indians, prefer to go work in Costa Rica plantations.
There they can keep their children with them at the plantations and can obtain a larger collection each day.
In Panama, producers plant an average of 2,500 plants each hectare while in Costa Rica, producers plant 4,500 plants in each hectare.
Costa Rica’s government has implemented a project called “Family Harvesting Law” that has wooed Panamanian collectors to their plantations. Panama prohibits child labor, but laborers demand to be admitted to the plantations with their families. Costa Rica then becomes a better option leaving Panamanian coffee fields unharvested.
Every year, 1,814 tonnes are lost in the Chiriqui highlands due to lack of laborers. For a coffee can that is sold in the market for $7, laborers get paid between $1.25 and $1.75.