International coffee day

We celebrate today the International Coffee Day, but Coffee is in crisis, due to the very low prices paid to the coffee producers. Discover what we can do in our article. 

Happy international coffee day

Today, we celebrate the International Coffee Day. But is there anything to celebrate regarding the catastrophic situation faced by coffee producers around the world? The price of the coffee stock market has reached in 2019 its lowest levels in more than a decade. For a majority of producing countries, such a price does not cover production costs, leading producers to situations where they can no longer ensure the livelihoods of their families.

In Switzerland, 99% of coffee is bought at the price of the coffee stock market. Ecological, social and qualitative considerations take second place, the important thing is to have one’s coffee (preferably with a standardized bitter taste to hide the defects) at the cheapest price.

But when prices are so low - and so volatile – it prevents producers from maintaining the agricultural practices essential to the quality of the final product. Only the most intensive and largest companies, who practice monocultures and unsustainable agriculture, find their account (keyword deforestation). 

Today, more than ever, growing coffee sustainably, in harmony with the surrounding ecosystems, is essential - not only to produce good coffee - but also to preserve animal and plant biodiversity and fix nitrogen and carbon to mitigate climate change. 

So what can we do?

1. Consider one’s own coffee consumption.

Which kind of coffee do I want to consume? Do I want to pay a very high price to consume a coffee bought at the price of the stock market, canned and packed in caps, a priori fast and easy to use but with a huge ecological and social impact? Or do I want to rediscover the tastes, the aromas and the incomparable pleasure of a local coffee, freshly roasted, to be grinded just before the extraction to preserve its delicious aromas? A specialty coffee bought at a price that would depend on qualitative criteria and not on external factors like speculation?

2. Reconsider the role of producers in the value chain. 

Is coffee, on which millions of families depend for their livelihoods, a product whose value should remain dependent on the mood of stock markets and fully subject to profitability criteria or should it either be considered an agricultural product, integrated in its ecosystem, and that should enable a sustainable human development for everyone?

3. Support and promote initiatives, projects, organizations and businesses that are committed to greater equity and sustainability along the coffee chain.

4. Lobby locally, nationally and internationally for effective measures to accelerate the transition to sustainable and ethical development of the coffee chain.

What other measures would you add to this list?

Thank you very much for your sharing and comments.

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