Small producers claim that Nestle and Starbucks exploit workers in Mexico and the world.
Just after Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced he reached a deal with Nestle to build a US$154 million plant in Veracruz, a state famous for its high quality coffee, Campesinos are protesting the decision in the name of small producers and the environment.
The President of the Regional Council of Coffee in Coatepec, Cirilo Elothan, along with small producers and Campesino organizations from Coatepec, Zongolica, Huatusco, Ixhuatlan del Cafe, Totutla and Tlacotepec de Mejia, rejected Nestle’s plan to build a plant citing previous experiences with transnational corporations such as Starbucks.
“The announcement is not new to us because Nestle has always controlled the prices of coffee and have exploited coffee producers not just in Mexico but at a global level, for decades,” said Elothan.
After meeting on Tuesday with Nestle’s executive president in Mexico, Fausto Costa, Lopez Obrador announced that the plant would process about 20,000 tons of coffee a year and employ people in both rural and urban areas.
Costa said the plant would create at least 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in Veracruz and make Mexico the biggest coffee producer for Nestle, taking Brazil’s place.
Members of the Plan de Ayala National Coordinator (CNPA) rejected the plan because the government didn’t take them into account before reaching the agreement and demanded economic support for them and not Nestle.
“We must examine what they’re doing, the agreements, and promote the coffee producers. Give that money to producers and develop coffee production like it should be,” said the CNPA in a statement. “They way Nestle will get in won’t benefit us at all. It’s a millionaire investment, but it’s for them, because the producer won’t get any benefit. If Nestle did a development plan that would take coffee producers out of poverty, we would be with them. But we know beforehand they have helped exploit coffee producers.”
The representative of the CNPA, Ramon Pino Mendez, disagreed with the investment and denounced that Nestle uses ‘Robusta Cofffee’ in its plantations, a variety cultivated without shade, fostering deforestation and environmental problems.
Nestle recently signed a US$7.15 million agreement with Starbucks to sell the products with the logo of the famous coffee store, such as the Dolce Gusto and Nespresso capsules, paving the way for further monopolization of production and commercialization of coffee.
Manuel Garcia Estrada, a coffee producer and cultural promoter from Veracruz, is concerned about the recent developments in the coffee market.
“They just announced a great global alliance, buying crops in advance and fixing the prices and quality. They’re the ones setting up the requirements and they’re the ones saying how coffee tastes, how it must be prepared and also how it’s being commercialized,” Garcia told the local news outlet Hora Cero.
The federal government already presented the 2019 budget and it cut resources to help coffee producers by half, from 783 million Mexican Pesos to 346 million (US$17.4 million).