LONDON, UK — The World Coffee Producers Forum – a not-for-profit organization formed to analyze and address the challenges faced by the coffee value chain, whose country members account for about 85 percent of global production – held a press conference on Monday after meeting in London to discuss the price crisis.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 122nd session of of the ICO’ International Coffee Council.
“The situation is desperate,” said Roberto Vélez, chief executive of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, who warned of social unrest in key coffee-growing countries.
“We need the industry and consumers to realize that this is a situation that cannot be maintained if we want the coffee industry to survive,” he added.
According to Velez, coffee farmers in Colombia are switching to coca, whose acreage has reached the highest levels on record, while coffee plantations are declining.
December Arabica coffee futures in New York fell 240 points on Monday to 97.3 cents per lb, after touching the lowest since July 2006 at 97.15 cents.
This is well below the cost of production, which stands at about $1.20 a pound in Colombia and $1.50 in El Salvador.
Rene Leon Gomez, the executive secretary of Promecafé, which represents growers in Central America and the Caribbean, said they were seeking to set up a dialogue with industry leaders across the world and also have a campaign to raise consumer consciousness about the crisis.
The Forum said it was planning to write to the leading groups this week to seek meetings.
“We want to see if we can come up with a scheme or some sort of formula that can work for [the companies],” said Anil Kumar Bhandari, president of the India Coffee Trust.
Nestlé, the competitor in the global coffee market, said it believed constructive dialogue was of critical importance to the coffee sector. “We welcome and look forward to continued interaction with the World Coffee Producers Forum,” the Swiss group said.