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Focus on . . . Coffee

Cultivation and harvest of coffee is a complex and intricate process. It is based on biology, climate, economics and world trade. Discovered by nomadic herdsmen in Ethiopia around 1000 years ago, coffee is now grown in over 50 countries and more than 60 million people are dependent on the production, marketing and processing of coffee for all or part of their income. But the market for this valuable agricultural commodity has been volatile for several decades and over production is now crippling the market, driving coffee prices to an all-time low. In this edition of New Agriculturist we highlight some of the current challenges faced by smallholder coffee growers, who struggle to maintain quality, rather than try to improve yields, in order to realize a better price for their crop.


Spilling the beans

The coffee connoisseur purchasing his coffee from one of the top food stores in western Europe selects his speciality coffee with care. This man will tell you that the Kafe region in Ethiopia, where coffee originated, continues to produce coffee that is considered amongst the best in the ...

An awful lot of coffee in Vietnam

Rich, robust and rewarding - that was to be the flavour of coffee production in Vietnam. The country has made an astonishing leap in production in the last few years but, for some, there's a bitter taste in the dregs . ...

Beans, Birds and Bio-diversity

In the United States and Europe, young people are rejecting the cup for the can, and cola, not coffee is king. Globally, coffee supplies are exceeding demand; the coffee mountains are gaining in altitude ........

GM coffee: brewing up a storm?

Shiny, red and firm to the touch, a cluster of ripe coffee berries is as appealing to the eye as the aroma that emanates from freshly ground coffee. But is this picture actually as attractive as it appears...

Making the most of IPM in Malawi

Over 900 species of insect have been reported to feed on coffee. Although relatively few create significant damage, and few are sufficiently widespread to cause major losses, the white stemborer, Monochamus leuconotus [WSB], has become particularly hard to control since ....

Charged up and online

With a high value-to-weight ratio, coffee is a crop often favoured by farmers in remote areas. However this can mean that the growers are cut off from technical support, and ...

Ugandan coffee: wilting under pressure?

A smallholder coffee farmer bends to inspect several bushes which have just caught his attention. Previously unnoticed, the leaves are beginning to turn yellow; a fatal sign. Within a short period of time, the farmer knows that the yellowing will spread ...

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