The Future (of Coffee) is Female


Why International Women’s Day matters to the coffee industry

Women are essential to the coffee supply chain – but too often their contributions go unrecognized and unrewarded. Disenfranchisement and gender inequity are perpetuated through a myriad of economic, systemic, and cultural issues (from the insidious to the overt).

However, through hard work and persistence, we’re beginning to see a powerful (and empowering) change across the industry.  These inspiring initiatives are fueled by new (and overdue) research on women in coffee, which gives us critical data to measure real impact.

But there is still a long way to go.

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Data Snapshot: Building Resilient Coffee Farms


A New Industry Guide for Renovation & Rehabilitation

Coffee-growing regions around the world are feeling the impact of aging trees and diseases (such as coffee leaf rust, pictured above), on the quality and supply of coffee. Supporting responsible coffee farm renovation and rehabilitation is crucial to the future of coffee, and the longevity of our industry.

That’s why the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, in partnership with USAID’s Bureau for Food Security and  Dalberg Advisors, has released  a new Guidebook for Roasters, Traders, and Supply Chain Partners

The Guidebook is a comprehensive resource for companies, governments, investors, and service providers interested in undertaking Renovation & Rehabilitation (R&R) efforts; it:

  • Defines the need and makes the case for renovation and rehabilitation
  • Provides practical & useful tips on how to structure R&R programs 
  • Suggests ways that different stakeholders can engage in R&R
  • Presents case studies and links to experts and service providers

R&R investments are critical for ensuring the continued supply of coffee and meeting future demand. While governments and actors in coffee value chains have invested USD 1.2 billion in R&R so far, this has only met around 5% of the smallholder farmers in need

According to the Guidebook, if the industry did reach these farmers in need of R&R, benefits would include more coffee, higher incomes for farmers, and reduction in future deforestation.

Here’s a look at the numbers: Continue reading

What Upsiide Tells Us About Coffee Production and Consumer Perception


By Michael Edwards, Dig Insights

Upsiide is a new idea screening app that is inspired by Tinder. Designed by Dig Insights (the experts behind the NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends Report), the mobile platform connects companies to real-time consumer feedback and powerful analytics.

The concept sounds complicated, but it’s simple to use. Here’s how it works:

Survey respondents using the app are shown an idea (a potential claim, a new beverage idea, a packaging idea, a branding idea a positioning idea, etc.). The idea can be expressed with any combination of text, images, and/or video. The respondent swipes right or left to like or dislike the idea, or can request more information. Once two ideas are liked, they are paired head-to-head for the respondent to indicate which concept they prefer most. The winning concept is advanced to the next round of trade-off.

The NCA used Upsiide to test how consumers react to coffee production information, including certifications, information about the farms where the coffee is grown, information about the coffee strain used in the product, etc.

So, what does Upsiide tell us about coffee production information?

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Behind the NCA Coffee Gives Back Program

By William (Bill) Murray, President & CEO, National Coffee Association


“The farmer has to be an optimist, or he wouldn’t be a farmer.” 

Will Rogers, U.S. Social Commentator, 1879-1935  

More than any other pursuit, successful farming depends on “external” factors.  Successful farming depends upon some things that can’t be controlled easily, and some things that can’t be controlled at all.

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Grounds for Health Receives $200k Challenge Grant to Support Innovation in 2018

Classic GFH woman.jpg

Grounds for Health, an international NGO dedicated to the prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries, is embarking on a large fundraising campaign and it began with a bang. A very generous supporter offered to match every donation received before January 2018, up to $200,000.

Thanks to strong local health partners and coffee industry support, Grounds for Health has successfully screened over 80,000 women and treated more than 6,000 women in low resource settings since 1996.

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A Producer’s Perspective: Challenges Across the Coffee Value Chain

Editor’s note: Next month, the global coffee industry will gather in Medellin for the World Coffee Producers Forum to explore how to strengthen farmers, discussing sustainability, labor, managing price volatility, and improving productivity and yields.  Here, Frederick Kawuma, Secretary General of the Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO), sets the stage for these discussions by providing an overview from the producers’ perspective.


Coffee farmer Feleke Dukamo checks the latest coffee prices. Source: Wikimedia Commons

By Frederick Kawuma, Secretary General of the Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO)

There has recently been a spate of studies analyzing the income of coffee farmers. The first thing that becomes evident is that the income from coffee farming varies depending on the country, and even the region within the country, where the studies have been done.

The second thing that becomes evident is that the income from coffee farming depends on the price the farmer gets for his coffee, which depends on “the market.”

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Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain


Gender equity is good for the coffee business.

The Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) believes that vibrant farming communities are the key to producing better coffee, and more of it. Therefore, they’re working to address this issue through large-scale collaboration, standardized best practices, and stronger data – starting with the report, “The Way Forward: Accelerating Gender Equity in Coffee Value Chains.”

During a recent NCA webinar, “Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain,” industry experts Kimberly Easson, Samantha Veide, and Chad Trewick discussed key findings, required resources, and where the industry can go from here.

Four highlights emerged from the research:

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Data Snapshot: Coffee Farmer Income


Photo courtesy of Fairtrade International

via Fairtrade America

Around 80% of the world’s coffee is produced by 17.7 million small-scale coffee farmers. And while the coffee industry aims to be a sustainability leader, the fact is that many farmers continue to struggle to make ends meet and support their families.

New research finds that the future of coffee depends on adequate income for farmers. A pilot study by Fairtrade International and True Price shows that despite sustainability pledges in the coffee sector, many coffee farmers struggle to make ends meet.

Key findings from the report include: 

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Changing the Game: Coffee Sustainability in Honduras

The following is a guest post submitted to The First Pull. See our guest post guidelines


By Eduardo Rivera, Compañia Hondureña del Café (COHONDUCAFE)

During a recent weekly visit to coffee farms, as part of our support and monitoring program to coffee farms in Honduras, we came across small farm. Mr. Robinson Jimenez welcomed us into his home. He has been have been growing coffee for quite some time now, and until recently, he has been doing it without any technical training or information that you would find in a classroom.

A lot of coffee growers in Honduras grow coffee as how their father and grandfather did before them. However, this practice is changing. Climate change, economic factors, deforestation and other factors all play a role.

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La Roya’s Return: How Can Coffee Farmers Survive?

The following is a guest post from Heifer International. See the NCA First Pull guest post guidelines

By Marco Machado, Heifer International


Photo: Stephanie Parker, via Medium

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Orangish yellow blotches are starting to appear on the leaves of coffee plants in eastern Honduras, according to reports from the field. It’s a sign that the dreaded coffee rust fungus, or la roya, is making a comeback and endangering the crop that’s vital to the economies of Latin America.

Five years ago, an outbreak decimated coffee in the region, triggering a state of emergency and famine watches.

How bad will it be this season? It’s too early to tell. All we know is that the plant-choking fungus – first discovered in East Africa nearly 150 years ago – poses a serious threat to coffee’s future in the Americas.

As we search for a way to defeat the fungus, the coffee industry can help smallholder farmers build resiliency and deal with shocks from la roya – as well as from climate change, market swings, and other volatility common with cash crops.

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