A Shortage of Coffee Looms


Speaking at the Global Coffee Forum in Milan, Andrea Illy said that the world needs another coffee producer, of comparable size to Brazil in terms of output, in order to prevent a predicted global shortage from occurring within the next ten years.

Illy, the chairman, chief executive and all-around head honcho of Illycafe, the famous Italian coffee roasters, stated he expects there to be a shortfall of forty to fifty million bags as climate change, low prices, pests and disease lower harvests’ yields.

However, it is the rising consumption of coffee around the world that is likely to be the biggest factor in causing a strain on supplies as nations like China and Russia continue to expand and grow their domestic coffee sectors.

With a finite amount of beans demand will increase and under the current economic system, so will the price of our cups of coffee as market prices rise.

“We don’t know where this coffee will come from,” he said, adding: “Sooner or later, in months or years, we’ll have to make a bold decision about what to do.”

Worryingly for us all Illy isn’t the only person to have voiced their concerns in the past twelve months or so.

Illy’s counterpart at Nespresso, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, has previously noted his concern about the rather large threat that climate change could have on the entire industry and he reiterated his worries earlier this week whilst providing first-hand examples of the measures some farmers are taking to protect themselves against the altering weather patterns of Mother Nature.

To add to this rather gloomy thread, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture published a report earlier this year which pessimistically forecasts that climate change poses a threat to 25% of Brazil’s cumulative coffee harvests, whilst also putting the livelihoods of coffee farmers in other South and Central American countries in danger.

And just to cap everything off, a group affiliated with the German merchants Neumann Kaffee Gruppe as predicted that global coffee consumption will increase to a total of 200 million bags by 2030. However, if today’s production levels remain then the world will only be producing, at most, 150 million bags.

So can the coffee sector adapt?

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