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ICO Releases Flagship Annual Report: ‘The Value of Coffee’

The Value of Coffee

Coffee Development Report 2020.

The International Coffee Organization has just released the Coffee Development Report 2020, a sprawling, research- and data-filled document focusing on coffee through the lens of global value chains.

“The Value of Coffee: Sustainability, Inclusiveness and Resilience of the Coffee Global Value Chain” is the second version of the organization’s flagship annual report, which was groundbreaking in scope in its first edition last year.

Building on that report along with three other ICO sector analyses throughout 2020 — one on how a global recession might affect coffee, one on the potential for price volatility amid the pandemic, and one on a collection of lingering concerns from coffee producers — the Coffee Development Report 2020 spans 108 packed pages.

As is to be expected, the empirical research shared throughout the report shows that despite the exponential growth of the coffee trade over the past 30 years, an exponentially higher share of the resulting market value has been captured by actors in traditional consuming countries, such as coffee roasters and traders. Meanwhile, smallholder coffee farmers and farmworkers, while producing exponentially more coffee, collectively remain by far the most vulnerable within the global value chain.

That evidence is expressed through multiple pieces of research shared throughout the Coffee Development Report, which is itself heavily influenced by the scope of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2020.

Of course, the publication also comes in the midst of a pandemic that has disrupted trade and supply chains, while further stressing the most risk-prone actors in coffee, such as hourly baristas or small-scale farmers.

“Within this larger context, the cumulative effects of the coffee price crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic present a major hazard for millions of coffee farmers who already struggle to cover their operating costs, let alone provide for their families,” ICO Executive Director José Sette wrote in the introduction to the Coffee Development Report 2020. “In addition, scarcity of resources generates a significant reduction of investment in the maintenance and modernization of plantations and farm operations, as well as in the adaptation to climate change, thereby jeopardizing the sustainability and the very future of the coffee supply.”

There’s a ton to unpack in the Coffee Development Report 2020, which is available online or for print purchase here. DCN plans to expand upon the report’s contents in the coming months.


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