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Grounds for Change

Market volatility and declining terms of trade, along with inadequate access to infrastructure, financial resources, and market information, put sustainable livelihoods out of reach for millions of rural families.

Coffee plays a crucial role in the livelihoods of millions of rural households in the developing world. Small-scale family farmers produce over 75% of the world’s coffee. Market volatility and declining terms of trade, along with inadequate access to infrastructure, financial resources, and market information, put sustainable livelihoods out of reach for millions of rural families. The coffee market continues to be a showcase of the need to address the commodity crisis on a global scale, a crisis that is hampering the development of many countries. This is directly linked to the global interest in wider peace and stability.

The discussions on the future of the International Coffee Agreement present an historic opportunity to address the ongoing crisis facing smallholder coffee farmers and farmworkers by contributing to sustainable coffee supply chains. At the 2nd World Coffee Conference in September 2005 several organizations presented the International Coffee Organisation and its delegates with the Carta de Salvador—the Salvador Declaration, which stressed the ongoing effects of the coffee crisis facing small-scale family farmers and farmworkers. This paper calls on International Coffee Organization members to support small-scale farmers and farmworker organizations by ensuring space for their direct participation in international debate, creating mechanisms that enhance the availability of market information to small-scale farmers, and maximizing opportunities to develop cohesive international strategies to provide technical support, access to credit, and direct access to markets.

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