[E]ver since August, when the commodities market dropped below $1.00 a pound, alarm bells have been ringing throughout the industry: coffee prices are dangerously low. In the following months, leaders throughout specialty coffee have illuminated how years of low coffee prices have led to farmers losing money every harvest while costs continue to rise, how the industry is primed to lose the next generation of farmers due to lack of incentive to stay in the industry, and that farmers can no longer invest in their crops, leading to worsening soil conditions, pest outbreaks, and lower yields.
In response, the SCA is launching the Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative, whose mission will be aimed at understanding and addressing the price crisis affecting coffee farmers and threatening the supply chain as a whole. Ric Rhinehart will step down from his role as SCA’s Executive Director to lead the new initiative as Executive Director Emeritus; Yannis Apostolopoulos, the current Deputy Executive Director, will succeed Rhinehart to complete his term.
The first year of the initiative will be focused on four main objectives:
- Increase funding and resources allocated to better understanding the topic in collaboration with the staff and volunteer advisory councils of the SCA’s Advocacy and Sustainability Centers.
- Conduct research on the coffee price crisis and its effects on producers and the entire value chain.
- Convene experts from the private sector and academia to explore alternative price discovery tools for the specialty coffee industry.
- Outline alternative economic models for the specialty coffee trade and provide a meaningful way for companies to address risks in the supply chain.