Coffee producers are calling on leading high street companies like Starbucks and Nestle to subsidise farmers who are struggling as prices hit 12-year lows. Speculators, overproduction and the power of multinationals are being blamed for the drop in farmers’ incomes. Alessandro Rampietti reports from Colombia’s coffee-growing region of Rovira where the situation for most farmers is desperate.
Meanwhile, Jose Sette, from the International Coffee Organization, estimates the “total revenues from coffee all over the world per year are around more than $200bn a year. Of that, maybe $16bn – around 8 percent reaches the farmer. ”
“In addition, the industry does already invest in some sustainability initiatives, and that we estimate to be around $350m a year… the industry needs to up their game and invest a lot more in the sustainability of farmers, which are the base of their business.”
“In the long term, the future for coffee is very bright. Demand is increasing steadily. We are opening new markets, especially in Asia. So the prospects for coffee demand are great but we face immense challenges. In the medium and longterm, we have to deal with climate change, aging farmers and attract youth to coffee farming. We have to close the gender gap and make coffee cultivation more attractive for women and more attractive for women,” says Sette.
“It’s in the self interest of the roasting industry to invest more in the health and sustainability of the farmers.”
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