The Coffee Industry: History and Future Perspectives
This chapter focuses on changes which have characterized the world coffee industry since its development as a marketable commodity, and the impact of these changes on coffee research. Three main periods have been identified through these changes. The first one is the free market, with Brazil dominating it until the early 1950s; this was followed by the period of controlled market within the frame of international cooperation between exporting and consuming countries (1960s through 1980s); the third period is the current free market situation within the framework of international cooperation, which started in mid-1989. During the first period, efforts to increase yields were undertaken through scientific research supported mainly by Governments. The public sector in Brazil and Colombia was the major driver of research and development in the coffee industry. In the second period, also known as the post-war period, the increased investment in agricultural research encouraged the development of new techniques for intensive production and better management of nematodes, pests and diseases. To address price fluctuations, governments set up price regulation mechanisms through international cooperation, creating the International Coffee Organization to manage it. Governments and their parastatals were driving coffee industry in producing countries and specialized assistance was available to farmers; in many countries research institutions benefited from substantial funding. The current period is characterized by the return to a free market, with the government withdrawing from the coffee industry. In many countries this new environment has weakened research institutions and extension services, since the private sector has not been prepared to replace the government in providing core services.
KeywordsCoffee market changes coffee research coffee regulation coffee production
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