The ICO explains why the youth need coffee

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, governance, resilience, and fragility of Global Value Chains (GCV) became a central theme for economists, industries, and governments. Also of interest were its effects on various segments of society with lower incomes and countries severely impacted by youth unemployment and lower incomes, which were greater than among adults. The coffee industry has proven to be quite adaptable and resilient, able to modify how it produces, trades, transforms, and consumes coffee. Nonetheless, the pandemic had a significant impact on the employment and earnings of young people in the coffee industry, from producers to baristas. This exacerbated other youth-related and coffee-specific issues, such as a widening intergenerational gap, aging coffee farmers, unequal access to land and resources, migration from rural coffee areas to cities and abroad, and the inheritance-driven fragmentation of coffee farms.

Members of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) have therefore decided to address the topic of “youth in coffee” between 2021 and 2022 by reviewing trends, identifying best practices, understanding challenges and opportunities, providing policy recommendations, and advocating for a larger role for young people across the entire global coffee supply chain.

The ICO drew global attention to the ‘Next-Generation’ of coffee by hosting two high-level events: a coffee and youth day during the annual meeting of the Youth 20, the engagement group of the G20 Summit, and the opening of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) World Food Forum on the challenges and opportunities of the coffee sector for millions of young people, as employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

The German Ministry of Development, via its development agency GIZ, supported the 2021 Coffee Development Report (CDR2021), titled “The Future of Coffee: Investing in Youth for a Resilient and Sustainable Coffee Sector.” The report was based on the significant work and contributions of a team.

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