For international coffee trade, there appears to be no such thing as a “normal” year. But, as an example of some of the challenges at hand — and why we should care – consider the pre-COVID year of 2019.
In that year, just under 70% of the world’s coffee bean production of 9.6 million tonnes came from just five countries: Brazil (29.6%), Vietnam (18.9%), Colombia (9.3%), Indonesia (7.5%), and Ethiopia (7.5%). (4.4 percent ). According to Businesswire, the global market was worth $102.15 billion at the time, and by 2026, it is predicted to expand by over 52% to $155.64 billion.
Around 25 million smallholder farms (usually less than five acres) produce 70-80 percent of the world’s coffee, employing more than 125 million farm owners and hired labourers. So, how does the fact that their product is in such high demand affect their livelihoods?
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Surprisingly, the retail price at which coffee is sold has very little bearing on the take-home earnings of the bulk of these growers. According to the Reuters News Agency, coffee-producing countries receive less than 10% of retail profits, and individual farmers even less.