Many grow only coffee, with little food production other than a few fruit trees that provide shade for their coffee. This leaves them vulnerable and entirely dependent upon their coffee earnings. Even in good years, this is barely sufficient to meet all basic needs, much less move them out of poverty.
The global coffee market can be volatile, making it difficult for farmers to plan from year to year, with shortfalls leaving them unable to meet basic needs like nutritious food, clean water, access to medical care, education. Other challenges include coping with the impact of climate change that fuels crop diseases like la roya, the rapidly rising average age of farmers, and the migration of youth from the farm to urban areas.