Writing for Conducivemag.com, Nicki Lisa Cole provides a brief history of the production and consumption of coffee, highlighting that the grain has become a massive international business at the expense of slave labor, with this legacy still visible in the low wages paid to the industry's workers.
Cole reports that, "according to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the U.S. is the world’s leading importer of coffee... with over 415 million cups of coffee drunk everyday. Brazil is the largest exporter, accounting for nearly a quarter of all exports. The second largest exporter is Vietnam, constituting 19.4%, followed by Colombia (9%) and Indonesia (8.7%). Peru, Honduras, India, and Guatemala each account for about 4%. Nicaragua and Costa Rica each contribute 1.5%".
Coffee's worldwide significance is evidenced by the fact that 75 million people depend on it to make a living, including pickers, farmers, roasters, exporters, wholesalers and shops as well as all the related intermediaries and services.
The variety of coffee which is considered the best quality, is starting to have disadvantages compared to the robusta variety, both due to changes in consumer trends, as well as price.
This is the warning given by experts who gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to the manager of the research firm Olam Europe, Neil Rossner, the Central American countries affected by the rust blight, "failed to meet the challenge presented by Brazil and Vietnam", the world's largest producers of grain. "The Arabica segment is in crisis and the gourmet coffee strategy is threatened," he added.
Coffee sales abroad in the years 2011-2012 are estimated to increase by 17%.
A 17% increase in export of the harvest which begins in August and ends in October 2012, is expected by the National Coffee Association (Anacafe).
If these estimates are met it would mean that for the first time Guatemala will export the equivalent of $1,000 million worth in bags of coffee, a figure which could be achieved partly thanks to high grain prices that currently prevail internationally.
Geisha, one of the finest varieties of coffee in Panama, has reached $374 a kilo, the highest price paid in the international market.
There are approximately 30 members of the Speciality Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP) who grow and export this product. "In high mountainous areas in the province of Chiriqui, located on the border with Costa Rica, some 400 miles west of Panama City, a nest of just over 40 farms grow, as well as Geisha, other varieties of fine Panamanian coffee such as Pacamara, Catuai, Caturra, Bourbon or Typica ", reported Prensa.com.
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