Did you know that coffee is in most years the second most valuable product traded worldwide, after oil? The International Coffee Organization (ICO) gathers and updates consumption, production, export, import and pricing information for coffee. Their work is important because of the unique makeup of the industry. Coffee is produced (grown) in over 60 countries worldwide, and this one crop, coffee, may account for over 50% of the export revenue for many of these countries. The fact that most of the coffee is produced by independent small farmers lends a fragility to the marketplace, and creates a responsibility on the part of the participants to be good citizens.
The ICO was set up in 1963 under the United Nations. The ICO member countries (not all countries are members) have agreed to agree on activities that will sustain this economically and socially important system. This governing document is called the International Coffee Agreement of 2007, and it was set in force in February of 2011 to enhance the stability, sustainability, and science of growing and selling coffee.
The daily coffee that we take so much for granted supports the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. Stay tuned to this blog for trends and updates on a seemingly humble commodity that can make or break countries, companies, families, and individuals.