Grounds for Change

Creating a Voice for Small Coffee Farmers and Farmworkers with the Next International Coffee Agreement

Published: 5 April 2006

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. Yet 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 showcase the need to address the commodity crisis on a global scale, a crisis that is hampering the development of many countries. Small-scale farmers and farmworkers have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. Their condition has been linked to migration and increased production of illicit crops, giving rise to a vicious cycle of social instability at local and regional levels – trends that have implications for global interest in wider peace and stability.