A Brave New World

I borrow the title of Aldous Huxhley’s book ,as the current reality of the coffee grower is becoming more and more a dystopian landscape.

Coffee prices in the commodity exchange are at a 13 year low. Production costs are rising year by year- and this in an environment where global demand and coffee consumption are growing constantly. In addition, the productivity of the large coffee producing countries (Brazil , Vietnam , Colombia , Indonesia) is so high that it can cover the losses of the exhausted producers in Central America and Africa .

Putting PR on the side , the Speciality coffee consumption remains too small to make a substantial difference in the standard of living of the tens of millions of small farmers whose life depends on their harvest’s yield .

Moreover, climate change further complicates the situation: water scarcity, intense weather changes, intense rainfall degrade the quality of the product and foster the spread of other harmful factors (insects).

What will be the future of world coffee prices ? This will depend on the farmers tolerance in Brazil and Vietnam. As long as they can sell at a price covering their production costs , the current situation will continue . After all, the rest have already dropped a white towel in the ring. We have to wait and see…..

Antony Kouidis