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Coffee Farmers Continue To Struggle With Price Crisis Despite High Demand: What Are Starbucks And Others Expecting?


The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) announced a new plan earlier this week to combat the current coffee price crisis, which has resulted in the commodity losing nearly half of its value in the last four years. The SCA’s plan — called the Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative — is to devote a significant amount of time, money, and human resources to research the crisis further and develop economic models which will both increase the revenue of the farmers and protect the coffee supply around the world. The SCA claims that for coffee growers to turn a profit, they need to sell their harvest for around $2.50 per pound; however, the current price is sitting just below that $1 mark at 98 cents per pound, according to Market Insider.

“The coffee value chain is long and most coffee producers are not paid enough for their coffee to maintain profitable farming operations,” the SCA wrote in a statement. “This should not be news to anyone who has been paying attention in the coffee industry; we have been hearing about this problem from coffee farmers, producing country institutions, and producer advocates for a long time.”

Despite the crisis, demand for coffee is still high. A record 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup a day in 2018, which is two percent higher than in 2017, according to a report issued earlier this year from Reuters. These numbers represent an eight-year high and have been propped up by the millennial generation’s demand for gourmet coffee drinks. Adversely, the daily consumption rate for other beverages such as soda and juice is declining.

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