Then, the statement made today by representatives of 35 coffee producing countries from Nairobi (Kenya) where they urgently call on all actors in the coffee chain to act quickly and responsibly in solving the current international coffee crisis in prices that are devastating entire communities of grain producers across the globe.
The representatives of Antioquia, José Eliecer Sierra, (current president of the Steering and National Committee of Coffee Growers) attended this important meeting in Colombia; by Boyacá, José Alirio Barreto and by Caldas, Eugenio Vélez Uribe.
STATEMENT BY THE COORDINATION GROUP OF THE WORLD COFFEE PRODUCERS FORUM
March 26, 2019
Nairobi, March 26, 2019.- The current social and economic crisis created by the extremely low international coffee prices has reached a point where the coffee value chain, as a whole, cannot continue talking about it without Take serious and immediate action.
According to the International Coffee Organization, ICO, about 25 million families, mostly small producers, produce coffee worldwide. Today, most of them cannot even cover their production costs and many of them cannot even make a living for themselves and their families.
The world consumes 1.4 billion cups of coffee every day (*) and consumers pay very high prices for them (from $ 3.12 in the United States to $ 4.60 in Shanghai to $ 6.24 in Copenhagen in 2018 (**). In many cases, those prices are achieved with the promise that coffee is sustainable, however, the promise of sustainability generally focuses only on two of its three aspects: environmental and social, economic sustainability, the income of coffee growers, has been neglected by the coffee value chain under the premise that “the market is the market” and we must let it govern.
The current “C” contract was created as the price reference for a basket of soft Arabic coffees of similar quality known as “Centrals”. Today, with several changes introduced over time, it is widely recognized that the price based on the futures contract “C” does not cover production costs for most producers due to several factors, including speculation of funds of coverage that they don’t understand or don’t care about coffee.
In 1982, the price of coffee fluctuated between US $ 1.18 and US $ 1.41 in the international market and a cup of coffee averaged US $ 1.10 in the United States; In 2018, the average price of one pound of Arabica coffee in the international market averaged US $ 1.01. On March 22, 2019, the price closed below US $ 0.95. Coffee producers have lost more than 80% of their purchasing capacity in recent decades.
The current process of impoverishment of coffee producers is destroying the social fabric in rural areas of more than 40 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, leading to increased crime in producing nations, to greater poverty in cities and massive migrations to the United States and Europe. In some countries, the current crisis has become an incentive to switch to illegal crops because farmers cannot live on coffee alone.
Quality and availability are also threatened. Producers who stay in coffee will not be able to pay for the proper care of their farms and their coffee, which leads to inadequate fertilization and care of trees, affects quality and deprives consumers of the diversity they enjoy today in day. The adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change are other burdens that fall on the shoulders of producers.
Producing countries and other actors are concerned that today’s “C” contract is not the right mechanism to discover the price and that, by allowing the impoverishment of producers, the coffee industry is risking its own future.
The current economic sustainability crisis of coffee producers must be addressed immediately before it becomes a humanitarian crisis. An approach based on the principle of joint responsibility and total transparency must be implemented to ensure that all links in the value chain are profitable and healthy. Even if a coffee results in a great drink, if it is at the expense of the dignity, value or well-being of people and the land, it cannot really be a sustainable coffee. ICE cannot be absent in this discussion.
Coffee producers around the world have been searching for the rest of the value chain for years in the hope of a collective, constructive and realistic approach to ensure the economic sustainability of the producers. The answer – unfortunately – has been very weak.
When it comes to the economic sustainability of coffee producers, it is clear:
¡NOT TO ACT IS NOT AN OPTION!
*Source: International Coffee Organization
** Source: Statista
List of associations, Federations and signatory countries of the declaration
ACRAM – Agence des Cafés Robusta d’Afrique et Madagascar
Cameroun, Centrafrique, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, RDC, Togo
AFCA – African Fine Coffees Association
Burundi, Cameroun, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
AMECAFE– Mexican Association of the Coffee Chain
ANACAFE– National Coffee Association Guatemala
BSCA – Brazilian Specialty Coffees Association
CNC – Conselho Nacional do Café – Brazil
CONAPROCAFE– National Coalition of Coffee Producer Organizations – Mexico
FNC – National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia
IACO – Inter-African Coffee Organization
India Coffee Trust
México, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Perú, República Dominicana, Jamaica
SCA– Specialty Coffee Association USA
VICOFA– Vietnam Coffee and Cocoa Association