International Coffee Organization (ICO) members from coffee-producing countries in Africa, Latin and Central America, Asia and the Pacific, have raised concerns over low coffee prices at the 122nd Session of the International Coffee Council (ICC) held last month..
Recently, the international price of coffee fell below the threshold of US$1 per pound, jeopardising the livelihood of 25 million coffee farmers.
ICO says the crisis could force coffee farmers to abandon coffee production, switch to growing illicit crops, or aggravate already dramatic migration flows. This adds to growing concerns about the sustainability of future coffee supply on top of the expected negative impact of climate change.
“ICO analysis suggests that the worst part of the crisis may be approaching its end but this will depend on the development of the Brazilian Real as a result of the elections in that country,” ICO Executive Director José Sette says. “In any case the price crisis must not be neglected.”
Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs presented the preliminary results of a study on prices based on ICO data, including suggested options under review to support industry and consumers to transfer funds back to poor growers.
To allow coffee stakeholders to access funds and technologies, the session included a Forum on Innovation, a Donors’ Forum and a Partnership Fair.
These brought together key donors, international organisations and financial institutions, as well as technology providers to address the situation of price and productivity on livelihood of small growers, and climate change.
Solutions aim to facilitate access to funding and blending public and private funds and to contribute to the de-commoditisation of coffee, thereby reducing the vulnerability of green coffee price shocks.
The Council and ICO Members decided that in 2018/19, the organisation annual theme will be Profitability: Consumption and Productivity, in response to the demand by members to better understand the price structure and volatility affecting coffee growers.
The ICC has decided to launch a global communication plan to raise awareness among consumers on the economic reality of the coffee sector and called on the ICO to further promote dialogue among all coffee stakeholders.