Coffee production in a time of crisis: social and environmental connections

Robert Rice
Publication Date: 
The coffee industry rests upon the production of a global commodity that has grown two-fold in volume and 3. 5 times in value since the 1960s, generating in the process billions of annual export dollars. This article discusses coffee"s history as a global commodity, and it environmental and social implications.
Occupying some 10 million hectares globally, millions of small producers and their families depend upon coffee as their major source of income. Their livelihood is threatened today by a price crisis brought on by overproduction. But, innovative market initiatives linked to social equity and ecological or conservation concerns have the potential to lift producers out of the devastation caused by low prices. Government and private sector actors also ahve a role to play in solving the crisis.