Coming into 2020, commodity coffee prices remained a common foe among coffee producers all over the globe, as the “C market price” remained woefully low. Then came 2020, and another C-word.
As with retailers, roasters, traders, multinational conglomerates or mom-and-pop corner shops, it would be foolish to assume that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected coffee producer groups everywhere in the same way.
Yet, as with all those other actors in the coffee chain, the pandemic has at once heightened and amplified the existing imbalances of power, risk and wealth. By many accounts, coffee farmworkers and small-scale coffee farmers were put into even more vulnerable positions by the pandemic, leading to documented increases in poverty, increased food insecurity, and increased farm abandonment.
While COVID presented plenty of bad news this year, it wasn’t the only news. Scratching the surface of the vast and multiplex landscape in which coffee is grown, below are some of our most-read news stories of 2020 relating to coffee production.
Early official government estimates suggest that more than 10,000 hectares (about 25,000 acres) of coffee farmland have been completely or partially damaged in Honduras and Nicaragua alone due to the recent hurricanes Eta and Iota.
As the initial panic over COVID-19 begins to subside and coffee companies begin to look beyond their immediate, short-term concerns, specialty coffee sellers and buyers are beginning to take a deeper look at the disruptions that various value chain partners are experiencing, and what the medium-term effects might be.
The Colombian government officially launched a coffee price stabilization fund designed to protect the country’s hundreds of thousands of coffee farmers from the volatility of the commodities market.
In mid-February, Portland, Oregon-based Third Wave coffee pioneer Stumptown Coffee Roasters, along with specialty coffee trading company Caravela Coffee, released the results of an impact report on direct trade.
A group of specialty coffee and development professionals has created a nonprofit called The Mokha Institute, designed to provide technical direction for the coffee sector of Yemen.
A new genetic group of the arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) species found to have immense quality potential has been confirmed in Yemen. It has been named Yemenia, which can be translated to “the Yemeni mother.”
Following a British public television Channel 4 investigative report that aired in March, Nespresso has announced the results of its own internal investigation into child labor in its supply chain in the Fraijanes region of Guatemala.
On top of the typical challenges facing coffee growers, farmers in North Kivu in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this harvest season have seen attacks by armed groups, flooding and mudslides, the Ebola epidemic and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
A team of coffee experts based in Colombia has reimagined, expanded and relaunched the coffee-producer-focused social enterprise Promising Crops with the goal of expanding sustainable agriculture and increasing market access among rural communities.
As the coffee price crisis wears on, the government of Guatemala has officially begun its exit from the International Coffee Agreement of 2007, which was designed to promote a more equitable coffee trade to support smallholder farmers throughout the world.
Every year around mid-September, with about 90% of the Brazilian coffee harvest completed, traders, roasters, speculators and financial actors all over the world start to think about projections for the next season.
After understanding the main concerns of South American coffee growers as the new harvest commenced in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now shift our attention to Central American and Mexican coffee producers.
The nonprofit Global Coffee Platform (GCP) is launching a four-year initiative tackling the ongoing issue of modern day slavery in the Brazilian coffee sector.
The traviesa — the smaller mid-season harvest from April to June — proved a harbinger of what was to come in terms of prices, with record highs having been sustained as we enter the last quarter. What’s more, the appropriate amount of rainfall during the wet season has helped to protect crops by keeping the destructive coffee borer beetle, or “broca beetle” at bay.
The facility builds upon a model Red Fox has been refining with an existing outpost in Lima, Peru, while reflecting the company’s desire to discover and promote more traceable, high-quality coffees from Oaxaca and farther afield in Southern Mexico.