Coffee at risk of becoming a luxury item

Businesses that sell coffee should invest more in their growers or risk coffee becoming a premium product.

Experts say that up to 50% of land currently used for producing coffee may no longer be suitable for the crop by 2050 due to the impact of climate change.

Market forces are also pushing farmers to the brink while the risk from disease and pests means that harvests are increasingly small and of lower quality.

Temperature extremes in key producing regions like Peru coupled with current coffee market prices that do not allow growers in most producing nations to cover production costs are forcing producers to leave the land or turn to other commodities like sugar cane.

The Fairtrade Foundation is calling on businesses to invest more to help coffee growers purchase new tools and plants to continue cultivating their crops.

“We could conceivably get to a point where coffee is no longer available for, say, £1.50 at Greggs, but becomes a premium product for only those who can afford to enjoy it,” Fairtrade head of commercial partnerships Catherine David told the PA.

“It really is a crisis we are facing and I think it’s one that, if the UK public were more aware of, they’d be pretty scandalised that brands, retailers and coffee shops that they are buying their coffee from aren’t doing more.”

In September, some of the world’s largest coffee roasters, coffee shops and retailers signed up to a new international pledge to address the growing unsustainability of global coffee production. Firms including illycaffè, Nestlé, Olam and Starbucks committed to promote competitive and sustainable production; foster responsible and equitable growth; promote responsible consumption; and promote public-private dialogue regarding policy development.

1 Response

  1. The above commitments have a whiff of tokenism. One might be more convinced if there was a mention of the root cause of loss of production- soil degradation. A commitment to promoting and supporting regenerative farming practices should be the prime commitment.

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