In June, Mauricio Galindo, ICO’s head of operations, delivered a “State of the European Coffee Market” talk at the Re:co in Gothenburg, Sweden. His was the opening talk of the first specialty coffee symposium, co-produced by World Coffee Events, the Specialty Coffee Associations of America and Europe. The event is “…designed for high-level discussion, leading innovation and strategy development for those passionate and influential in the world of specialty coffee.”
Galindo’s presentation covered topics which are apropos to the recent release of new statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture on coffee production. “There is no consensus on total global coffee production.”
He painted a bleak picture for the majority of the world’s coffee growers while laying out the case that “…smallholder farmers are going extinct.”
“What this means is that unless the small coffee farmer evolves into a small entrepreneur, the days of the quaint small coffee farm are numbered, or least will remain confined to a life of poverty and deprivation,” said Galindo.
Galindo also provided analysis showing how trends in coffee are shifting. He cited data showing that the biggest growth rates in consumption are in Indonesia and the Philippines. He also pointed out that the world’s largest producer of coffee has become the second largest consuming country.
In a bid to stimulate further discussion, Galinda challenged those in attendance to re-evaluate what’s meant by a word heard all too often at trade events worldwide: “[W]hich sustainability do we mean here? The one that allowed Brazil to double its coffee production without having to increase its planted area, thanks to the increased use of technology, intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, monoculture and no shade, or the one that advocates for bird friendly shade-grown organic coffee that often relies on new planted areas to maintain already low productivities, often at the expense of primary forests?”
Learn more: ICO at Re:co