Study Exposes Dark Side of Coffee Cultivation in Uganda

The following excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on Natural Blaze

By Lauren Stralo, Lehigh University

Coffee represents a multi-hundred-billion dollar industry, consumed almost entirely by industrialized nations while being cultivated, harvested and exported by the world’s poorer nations. And although there has been recent attention to Fair Trade coffee—which brings more economic benefits to growers—Fair Trade makes up just 5 percent of the U.S. coffee market.

New research led by Kelly Austin, associate professor of sociology at Lehigh, explores unequal exchange in the coffee industry. She cites a range of negative consequences that coffee cultivation contributes to, including: malaria vulnerability, decreased participation in schooling, gender inequalities, and environmental degradation in Bududa, Uganda.

In Bududa, Uganda—Africa’s second largest coffee exporter following Ethiopia—the harvest typically runs from July through October. The season can extend beyond this, depending on the amount of rainfall, temperatures and the ripeness of the coffee cherries.

Located in the eastern region of Uganda, Bududa lies at the foot

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