Coffee producers battle price gloom

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Coffee, the world’s favourite morning cuppa of cheer, is not bringing any joy to its producers.

Coffee growers are struggling, as falling prices amid the Covid-19 pandemic are resulting in most producer countries unable to cover their costs, “let alone provide a decent livelihood to their families,” the International Coffee Organization (ICO) said.

 Top executives of the global coffee industry met virtually to discuss measures to address key issues in the coffee sector such as persistently low coffee prices.

 “We are here today because we all believe that only by working together – coffee exporting and importing countries, public and private sector, civil society and knowledge-based organisations – can we make the coffee sector resilient, sustainable and prosperous for all,” said José Sette, Executive Director of the ICO at the opening of the Task Force meeting on June 30.  

The development comes even as Guatemala has begun the process to leave the ICO due to concern over falling coffee prices, news agency Reuters reported quoting unidentified officials.

Coffee is the second-most important agricultural export for the Central American country, which is struggling to recover from a 2012 roya fungal outbreak, in addition to the economic challenges of the coronavirus crisis.

The coffee industry is staring at over three-decade low levels in the prices of Arabica beans as the Covid-induced lockdowns have hit consumption. Arabica prices have crashed 20% to touch 96 cents per pound compared to 120 cents six months ago.

Coffee bars and supermarkets have been shut down in Italy, Germany, Russia, and the UK among other major consuming countries amid lockdowns to check covid.

Meanwhile Brazil, the world’s largest producer of coffee, is expected to harvest a record crop, further putting pressure on prices.

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