Percol announces joint project with Fairtrade Foundation to combat coffee leaf disease in Guatemala

Percol Coffee is announcing a new project, funded jointly by Good for Life Charity (of which Percol is a major contributor) and the Fairtrade Foundation to tackle a coffee plant disease in Guatemala which is destroying crops as it spreads across Central America.Created by The Coffee Trust, the ‘La Roya Recovery’ programme is supporting coffee farms in the Ixil region of Guatemala. The programme’s objective is to eliminate the La Roya fungus which eats away at the leaves of coffee plants, preventing them from flowering or producing coffee beans. Expert agronomists are sharing their expertise with farmers and helping them to bring the trees back to health and in the meantime, the charity is giving financial support to farmers who have lost their only source of income through failed crops.Thanks to a joint £30,000 donation from both organisations, The Coffee Trust, a charity based in Guatemala, has begun a training programme to support over 1,000 coffee farmers in fighting ‘La Roya’ disease. Without such measures to combat the fungus, coffee farmers are at risk of losing their livelihoods if crops fail to produce a good harvest. In the Ixil region of Guatemala, Fairtrade coffee farmers of the Asociacion Chajulense are among the most marginalised, impoverished coffee producers in the world and they have now lost over 75% of their production because of the disease. Helping farmers implement new agricultural methods, this programme is healing plants and protecting future crops from devastation.David Brooks from Percol said: “Percol is one of the original pioneers of Fairtrade coffee and we are committed to supporting sustainable coffee farming through major contributions to Good for Life. Consumers who buy Percol coffee will know that coffee farmers are not only getting a fair price but their communities are also being supported for the future.”Brian Chapman, Founder of The Coffee Trust, said: “Last year, when I visited the projects in the Ixil region I witnessed the devastation of these coffee farms first hand and that’s why we’ve thrown in all of our support towards this programme. Through this match-funding with the Fairtrade Foundation, the Coffee Trust has been able to support double the number of farmers it has been helping to combat La Roya.”This new project is being announced in the final days of Fairtrade Fortnight (29 February-13 March), a two week campaign which this year highlights the food insecurity experienced by millions of smallholder farmers worldwide.Ben Shreeves, Account Manager at Fairtrade Foundation said: “Fairtrade’s new strategy was launched during Fairtrade Fortnight, a two week campaign highlighting the shocking fact that millions of the farmers who grow our breakfast products are going hungry between harvests. Coffee farmers typically live on less than £1.40 per day and whilst Fairtrade offers a higher price, the farmers are dependent on good quality crops to sell. Crop diseases and climate change are pushing farmers even further into poverty and that’s why this innovative project is so important.”Over the next five years Fairtrade Foundation’s new strategy will see the organisation increasingly deliver ‘Deepening Impact’ programmes like this project, seeking to deliver greater impact for farmers.The Percol Coffee range is available in all major retailers, including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose as well as online on Amazon and Ocado. 

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