This article examines how smallholders in Oaxaca, Mexico, experienced and responded to the recent coffee rust disaster, asking whether fair trade coffee producer organizations helped smallholders develop coping mechanisms to offset their vulnerability. It demonstrates how Oaxacan coffee producers were especially vulnerable during the recent rust outbreak due to long-term trends including a decline in governmental support for the sector dating back to the 1990s which resulted in a decline in producer incomes and a concomitant rise in the number of aging and poorly managed coffee plots that were more susceptible to coffee rust. The ongoing price volatility within coffee commodity markets and the continued restructuring of the specialty coffee market also increases the uncertainty producers face when determining how to best respond to the rust disaster. The article details the concrete ways in which fair trade coffee producer organizations help bolster the adaptive capacity of their members, while also noting areas for improvement.
Lyon, S. (2018), "Coping with Coffee Rust in Oaxaca, Mexico: Vulnerability and the Impact of Fair Trade on Smallholders’ Adaptive Capacity", Individual and Social Adaptations to Human Vulnerability (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 38), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 79-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0190-128120180000038005
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