Coffee price crisis

Responding to the
coffee price crisis

Are we drinking coffee at the expense of 25 million coffee smallholders? Yes. Unfortunately, we are. The coffee price crisis proves that smallholders in origin are not receiving enough to make a decent living. Or as the SCA puts it;

Consistent low prices and pricing volatility, contribute to unsustainable livelihoods for coffee farming communities.

In August 2018, the market plummeted below one US dollar per pound, and the community dubbed this as the ‘coffee price crisis’. We had to act as a coffee community.

The SCA’s Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative

The SCA was quick to respond with a ‘Price Crisis Response Initiative’. A specialized ‘Price Crisis’ team was appointed to investigate and propose possible actions we can take as a community.

The team formulated seven valuable strategies, of which three are the basis of our living income project.

The three strategies

  1. Living income/wage: new price establishment norms based on a dignified livelihood.
  2. Deliver full price transparency across the supply chain: to increase the bargaining power of different actors along the value chain.
  3. And enable technology-driven traceability: Support technology that allows for a more direct connection between the consumer and the coffee origin.

Investigating the incomes
of 278 out-growers in Guji

First, we singled out 278 out-growers in Guji to investigate their incomes. The out-growers produced two washed coffee lots for our core-partner Tesfaye Bekele – the owner of the Suke Quto farm and washing station.

Tesfaye tracked the out-growers’ deliveries and payments they received. We collected this data and shared it with Fairfood – our partner who built a traceability platform.

I believe that more transparency will increase the income of the out-growers that deliver the coffee cherries.

Tesfaye Bekele

For five months, we collected data from 278 Suke Quto out-growers. This data will show you what goes into the farmer’s pocket. Scary and confronting, we know. But also necessary if we want to improve the lives of growers. Making coffee better starts with making supply chains transparent.

Ready to discover what we found? Explore the Suke Quto supply chain today.