Coffee production in Nicaragua has been an important part of its history and economy. It is the most important crop in Nicaragua due to its economic, social and environmental impact. In 2015/2016, coffee exports reached over 1.9 million 60 kg bags accounting for $400 million in value. Approximately 79.9% of the population living on less than $2 per day.
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 markets.
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.
Size: 130,370 sq km
Capital City: Managua
Population: 5.9 million
Average farm size: 1–14 hectares
Annual production: 2.5 millions bags
Bags exported annually: 2.3 million bags
Annual domestic consumption: 180,000 bags
Growing regions: Jinotega, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia
Varieties: Bourbon, Catuai, Catimor, Caturra, Maracaturra, Maragogype
Processing Methods: Washed, Honey, Natural
Bag Size: 69 kg
Harvest Period: October to March
Shipment Period: April to July