Around 125 million people worldwide depend on the coffee we drink. And yet every time we lift a latte or craft a cappuccino, we probably don’t think about the journey from ground to grounds. Coaxing a crop out of some of the steepest farmland in the world is no mean feat. And that’s not all.
Coffee is a boom and bust commodity sold on a market that is inherently unstable, with widely fluctuating prices. Not only has the price been consistently low in recent years, coffee farming is getting harder as a changing climate brings extreme and unpredictable weather, more pests and faster-spreading diseases. In fact, by 2050, as much as 50 percent of the global surface area currently used for coffee farming may no longer be suitable.
And so the climate crisis is an immediate and ever-increasing threat to the livelihoods of farmers and workers across the world. As Bayardo Betanco, a Fairtrade farmer at the Prodecoop coffee co-operative in Nicaragua, says:
“THERE IS A CHAIN ON EARTH THAT STARTS WHERE THE PRODUCERS ARE. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE, THE ONES WHO GET THE LEAST HELP, AND CARRY ALL OF THE BURDEN. IT’S NOT FAIR.”
BAYARDO BETANCO, FAIRTRADE FARMER, PRODECOOP COFFEE CO-OPERATIVE, NICARAGUA