Global coffee production and sustainability by Carlos H. J. Brando

Title: Global coffee production and sustainability
Author: Carlos H. J. Brando, P&A Marketing, Brazil
Editor: CATIE, Costa Rica & Reinhold Muschler
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This ebook is the first chapter of a larger book titled Climate-smart production of coffee: Improving social and environmental sustainability, which I am currently reading and plan to write a review of as well.

The chapter is available on its own from the publisher Burleigh Dodds and it would certainly be good for any coffee professional as a means of gaining a broader, 40,000-foot view of the global coffee market, regardless of where in the supply chain one works.

There are nine sections in Global coffee production, plus links for further reading and the references cited:

  1. Introduction
  2. Coffee farmer incomes and sustainability
  3. Concentration and diversity in global coffee production
  4. Specialty and differentiated coffees
  5. Trends in Arabica and Robusta coffees
  6. Creating an enabling environment to make coffee farming more sustainable
  7. The case of Brazil in improving coffee grower incomes
  8. Farm size, income and sustainability
  9. Conclusion
  10. Where to look for further information
  11. References

Global coffee production provides good insights into the broader market, as well as specific concerns regarding smallholder producers. It briefly discusses several different wasy to increase profitability, to include value-added products and differentiated coffees i.e., specialty coffee, local consumption, plot rejuvenation with regenerative agricultural techniques, increased productivity (quantity over quality), and more.

Regular readers of mine will know I’m a big fan of programs to develop local consumption and I was happy to see that this chapter spends some time exploring how Brazil has helped improve grower incomes by focusing in part on local consumption.

See also: Local Consumption Wins in Brazil and Colombia

One of the concepts I find particularly interesting and useful in thinking about the challenge of sustainable coffee production is the concept of the enabling environment. The enabling environment is the sum-total of efforts by both the government and private sectors, such as governmental policies, improved infrastructure, market research and development, good agricultural practices (GAP), etc. It could be called the greater terroir of sustainable coffee production. Section six of the chapter dives into the enabling environment, after previous sections give an overview of the existing global market. Then section seven explains some of the specifics of an enabling environment in Brazil. Some of the interventions listed include: (Brando & P&A Marketing, Brazil, 2022)

  • Individual universities, research institutes and foundations became much more active in coffee research
  • The creation of the Coffee Research Consortium that provided focus and strategic planning programs for coffee research
  • Extension and training services performed by the IBC were progressively transferred to state governments and farmer cooperatives
  • New varieties, greater planting densities, mechanization and GAP were introduced to significantly improve productivity
  • The pulped natural system (also called the CD or honey system) was developed and on-farm processing increased.
  • Streamlining the supply chain from farm gate to harbor
  • Rebranding Brazilian coffees from a standard fair commercial quality to a range of quality standards, including specialty coffees.
  • Developing laws requiring banks to channel a given percentage of deposits to low interest financing of agricultural activities.
  • Exemptions from sales taxes for agriproducts that are exported.

The broadness of the above interventions helps illustrate what an enabling environment might look like.

This ebook is a great asset if you want a deeper understanding of the global coffee market and are looking for a foundation on which to understand ways to sustainably produce coffee.

  1. Brando, C. H. J., & P&A Marketing, Brazil. (2022). Global coffee production and sustainability. In R. Muschler (Ed.), Climate-smart production of coffee (pp. 3–20). Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited. https://shop.bdspublishing.com/store/bds/detail/product/3-190-9781801465878

Michael C. Wright

Michael is a licensed Q Grader, licensed Q Processor Pro, an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), and most recently, a graduate with a degree in horticulture and a concentration in horticultural business management. He has over ten years experience in the coffee industry operating on both the supply and demand sides of the value chain.