As of writing this, the price of coffee on the commodities market is $.98 per pound, a number that is up .31% for the day. In September, the price dipped to its lowest point, $.94, with the per pound price in the past year maxing out at $1.31. In fact, coffee prices have eclipsed the $2 mark since late 2014. Even as auction lot coffees continue to fetch record-breaking prices, these numbers paint a far more dire picture of the current coffee market. And now, the Specialty Coffee Association is getting involved, with their brand new Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative “aimed at understanding and addressing the price crisis affecting coffee farmers and threatening our supply chain as a whole.”

Initially announced via email, the initiative will be spearheaded by Ric Rhinehart, the SCA’s current Executive Director who will be stepping down in January and into the role of Executive Director Emeritus. Through previous research, the SCA has determined the “price threshold for profitability” for coffee farmers to be $2.50 per pound, a price commodity coffees haven’t fetched since 2011. In hopes of bringing the current price up to a more sustainable number, the Coffee Price Crisis Response Initiative has outlined its first year objectives:

  • Increase funding and resources allocated to better understanding the topic in collaboration with the staff and volunteer advisory councils of the SCA’s Advocacy and Sustainability Centers
  • Conduct research on the coffee price crisis and its effects on producers and the entire value chain
  • Convene experts from the private sector and academia to explore alternative price discovery tools for the specialty coffee industry
  • Outline alternative economic models for the specialty coffee trade and provide a meaningful way for companies to address risks in the supply chain

For more information on coffee pricing, the SCA has a whole host of resources available on the current crisis as well as farm profitability in general. The full statement from the SCA on the Coffee Price Crisis Initiative can be found here.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Top image with the Specialty Coffee Association

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