The coffee supply chain is famously shaped like an hourglass (or, if you will, a drip coffee machine): the broad demand at the top is connected to the millions of small producers at the bottom by a handful of powerful roasters. In 2013, the ten largest roasters controlled more than 40% of total world coffee … Continue reading Too Strong Coffee? Concentration at the Top and Anti-Trust Concerns
If human rights abuses take place where neither laws nor media exist, do they provoke an outcry? Thanks to some intrepid reporting by Ian Urbina for the New York Times, yes, they do. His piece “Sea Slaves: The Human Misery that Feeds Pets and Livestock“, part of his series “The Outlaw Ocean” on crime on the … Continue reading Fishing Slaves: Hidden Ordeals on the High Sea
Who has the hardest job in the coffee value chain? Is it the farmer, who has to create just the right growing conditions for each single coffee plant, countering unpredictable climate, droughts and deluges, pests and diseases and an uncertain economic future year after year? The processor, who has to balance the orders he gets from … Continue reading The Hardest Job Of All
“In a highly publicized move, Russia is destroying tons of food that was illegally imported from Western countries. […] As The Guardian reports, the order from President Vladimir Putin includes a requirement that the food “must be destroyed in front of witnesses, and the act should be captured on video, to preclude corruption.” NPR The destruction … Continue reading Russia’s Import Roulette
The finalized text for the Sustainable Development Goals was published on August 1st. I was curious to see what it had to say on sustainable food and agricultural systems. I summarize my thoughts below for a quick impression; thereafter you can find a blow-by-blow list of all instances where the SDGs mention food or agriculture … Continue reading Food In the Sustainable Development Goals: Great Ideas, But What About Demand?
Coffee is known to have some of the most volatile prices of any agricultural commodity. The crux of agricultural markets is this: There is always an imbalance of supply and demand. If supply is smaller than demand, prices soar. This animates more producers to plant the crop in the following year to reap high earnings. … Continue reading Hey Mon, What’s Up with Jamaican Coffee?