Regional study identifies opportunities for managing labour migration flows in coffee production

Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico
17 May, 2023


May 17, 2023. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) presented today the study Labour migration flows in the coffee sector in Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico: towards a better migration management. Given that the high labour demand for coffee harvesting in these countries is mostly covered by the participation of migrant workers who move temporarily, this study is intended to support decision-making on migration governance and ethical labour recruitment mechanisms in the region.


Among the recommendations that emerged from the study, it is proposed to update the manuals or protocols of technical accompaniment to maintain the required standards of sustainability in coffee plantations, including the elements of an orderly, safe and fair management of migrant labour. In addition, it is urged to promote the regularization of migrants that work in coffee production, as well as to rescue the good practices of producers for the establishment of actions aimed at understanding and addressing the relationship between the coffee sector and labour migration.


Panelists from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (Icafé), the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) participated in the presentation of the study's findings. In this space, the technical manager of IHCAFE, Osmar Napoleón Matute, said that regulations in the field should have "as a primary purpose to ensure labour rights and better treatment, all attached to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ending poverty, decent work, economic growth and reducing inequalities. It is also important to strengthen production guarantees, because one of the realities we experience in coffee growing is that we know how much we invest, but not how much we are going to earn."


"IOM, through its Western Hemisphere Program (WHP), has contributed to the generation of studies, as well as in the design and implementation of innovative projects, for example, SITLAM. These initiatives have contributed to a holistic view of labour migration, integrating elements of discussion and analysis, as well as the adoption of practices and policies on issues such as the right to identity, protection, border management and ethical recruitment, among others," said Andrea Dabizzi, coordinator of the Western Hemisphere Program.


The research is framed within the efforts to generate evidence to support decision-making and policy formulation as stipulated in the first objective of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  This regional study was made possible with the support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. Department of State (PRM). For more information, please contact Mónica Barrantes, Research Officer of the Regional Program on Migration, at