Poverty headcount ratio at $3.20 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population)
Equivalent to 3,136 Salvadoran colón per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2020
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
El Salvador has a population of roughly 6.4 million people. The country is highly urbanized with 73% of the population living in urban areas and the remaining 27% in its rural regions. Agriculture employs 16% of the workforce, and contributes 5% to El Salvador’s GDP.
El Salvador’s economy has moved from an agrarian model to one of services, non-traditional agricultural and industrial exports. Nevertheless, a significant part of the country still lives in rural areas, where many live in poverty. Agriculture in El Salvador has a dual character; with commercial farms specializing in exports or the food industry and smallholder farms trying to survive on subsidence farming. In many cases, this subsidence economy does not provide families with a sufficient income, denying them the ability to afford food or cover their basic needs. This is concerning since the country’s agricultural community is dominated by small scale farmers (82%) who farm on less than 3 hectares.
The minimum wage in El Salvador varies greatly by sector. The agricultural sector has the lowest minimum wage and it also varies by commodity and activity.
Although the minimum wage rates are above the poverty income levels, their enforcement is not always effective, especially in the informal sector. The informal economy represents around 75% of the economy in El Salvador. As a result, minimum wage and overtime violations are present in many sectors. In addition, women workers, especially in the export-processing sector, suffer exploitation, verbal and sexual abuse. The high crime rate that characterises the country has undermined work conditions, affecting workers both physically and psychologically.
The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a Living Wage Reference Value study for rural El Salvador based on the Anker methodology.
The Anker Living Wage Reference Value for rural El Salvador is estimated at 3,136 Salvadoran colón (292 EUR) per month. This estimate accounts for the wage required by rural workers to afford a basic but decent standard of living in a typical rural area of El Salvador. The estimated value consists of a net living wage of 2,815 Salvadoran colón (262 EUR) per month, plus 321 Salvadoran colón (30 EUR) to pay the State Welfare Fund and a private pension. The living wage estimate is 70 to 80% higher than both the agricultural minimum wage and the average wage for agricultural workers.
Living wage estimate for workers to be able to afford a basic but decent living standard in a typical rural area of El Salvador. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2020.
As part of a 5-year initiative to improve farmers’ livelihoods, this report focuses on the opportunities of El Salvador's coffee market system to support renovation and rehabilitation.