It’s not a great time to be a coffee farmer.
There’s enough turbulence generated by volatile coffee prices, an increase in pestilence and disease, climate change, supply surplus, troubling economic and political turmoil and the resulting lack of workers – without even beginning to consider equality issues. As one of the world’s most valuable traded commodities, a simple look at the market split between retail value ($83 billion in 2017) and agricultural export value ($19 billion in the same year) shows a sharp discrepancy between the value assigned to the work of those that grow the coffee, versus those that brew it. Once we understand that the export value has been substantially marked up by those that trade and export, we get a hint of how little actually goes back to the producers themselves.
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