As hurricane season continues in the region, there is a risk of further damage to their income, said a Fairtrade spokesperson, who is monitoring the situation.
The most recent storm, Hurricane Iota, made landfall in Nicaragua, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Further storms now threaten to bring more devastation for communities still battling with the aftermath of Hurricane Eta, which hit at the start of November, the spokesperson said.
Hurricane Eta triggered flash flooding and mudslides that killed scores of people and caused widespread damage to homes and land, affecting up to 2.5 million people across Central America, according to UN estimates.
As a result of the Category 4 storm, Fairtrade farmers in the region reported losses in crops such as coffee and cocoa and saw their infrastructure and buildings damaged.
Fairtrade said it is concerned that the damage caused by any future storms will exacerbate the situation for farmers and their families.
CLAC, Fairtrade’s network of small producers and workers in Latin America and the Caribbean, is assessing the impact of the recent hurricanes and has described the situation as “critical”.
Xiomara J Paredes, CLAC´s Executive Director, said: “Hurricanes Iota and Eta have caused serious damage in infrastructure and in the agricultural sector in Central America, the south of Mexico and Colombia. At CLAC we are currently assessing the damage. We know that several Fairtrade Producer Organizations had damage in their crops and will need support. We thank the Fairtrade system and its allies for being willing to help our producers in this tough time.
“The intense rains and floods have affected all the countries in the region. Yet, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua have been the most affected ones … The situation is critical in these countries.”
The Fairtrade Foundation said it is working with CLAC to assess the effects of Hurricanes Iota and Eta on farmers and supply chains. In the weeks ahead, CLAC will be running an evaluation with small-scale producer organisations in Central America, to get a more accurate picture of the damage caused by the storms.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been the most intense on record, with a record-breaking number of storms.