Coffee production in Nicaragua has been an important part of its
history and economy. It is one of the country's principal
The population of Nicaragua is approximately 6 million, with
approximately 79.9% of the population living on less than $2 per
Rural workers are dependent on agricultural wage labor,
especially in coffee and cotton. Only a small fraction hold
permanent jobs. Most are migrants who follow crops during
the harvest period and find other work during the off-season. The
"lower" peasants are typically smallholders without sufficient land
to sustain a family; they also join the harvest labor force. The
"upper" peasants have sufficient resources to be economically
independent. They produce enough surplus, beyond their personal
needs, to allow them to participate in the national and world
Production is centered in the northern part of the central
highlands north and east of Estelí, and also in the hilly volcanic
region around Jinotepe. Although production of coffee dropped
somewhat in the late 1980s, the 1989 crop was still 42,000 tons.
Nicaragua's poor transportation system and ecological concerns over
the amount of land devoted to growing crops on volcanic slopes in
the Pacific region limit further expansion of coffee cultivation.
These limitations have led growers to explore planting other crops
in undeveloped areas of the country.
The areas most suitable for the cultivation of coffee have been
Managua Department, Diriamba, San Marcos, Jinotepe, as well as the
vicinity of Granada Department, Lake Nicaragua, Chontales
Department, and in Nueva Segovia; historically, the best coffee is
produced in Matagalpa and in Jinotega.