Issue 40

The future of sustainability in coffee farming is everybody’s business

April, 2019

Editorial

The future of sustainability in coffee farming is everybody’s business

We will never be able to say that we are a fully sustainable industry unless we care about the livelihood and well-being of coffee-growing families based on the income they receive.


As the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), we represent more than 540,000 families that grow coffee all over Colombia, the backbone of our economy for many years and the livelihood of over 2 million people.

Coffee is also produced in many other countries, where 25 million people earn their living in coffee farming.

Today, low coffee prices threaten the sustainability of these families. For more than three years, we have been telling the world that we need to adequately address sustainability, which, as we know, has three dimensions: economic, social and environmental.

Everyone cares about environmental sustainability, of course: Mother Nature, water, flora and fauna. In the social side: gender equity, prevention of child labor, education, health care and opportunities for families. But nobody talks about the economic part of this equation. So this is a three-legged table with one shorter than the other two, and we know that such a table never stands.

So we will never be able to say that we are a fully sustainable industry unless we care about the livelihood and well-being of coffee-growing families based on the income they receive.

In the last 27 months, coffee prices have been falling systematically on the New York Stock Exchange. Yes, there is more coffee in the market, produced in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter, but we also have seen more investors selling futures in New York and making this downtrend steeper.

Current prices do not cover the cost of producing coffee, not only in Colombia, but in many of the washed Arabica producing countries. Therefore, the time has come for Colombia to decide whether to continue taking the Contract C price as a reference or to change the way we sell our coffee, taking into account the cost of producing it.

That’s what we think today and we invite the industry and consumers to join us and pay the fair price for our coffee. And then we will be able to claim that we are a responsible and sustainable chain in all its links, including the weakest one: farmers. The future of sustainability in coffee farming is everybody’s business.

By Roberto Vélez
FNC CEO

You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the COLOMBIAN COFFEE INSIGHTS sections on the top of this page.