How World Coffee Research Supports Small-holder Coffee Farmers

As a member of World Coffee Research, we are pleased to hear updates on their coffee research activities and initiatives. World Coffee Research is a global, industry-driven organisation that drives agricultural innovation for coffee. Over 175 companies support WCR's work worldwide.

What Is The Global Food Security Act?

Small-scale growers that tend to small farms in low-income countries are a crucial source for the coffee industry. These smallholder operations face many challenges, yet are critical to an industry that generates billions of dollars. The Global Food Security Act authorises foreign assistance funding and international development programs that benefit these growers.

Importantly, 60% of the global coffee supply is grown by smallholders. This means small-scale farmers with plots of land smaller than 25 acres. Generally, these smallholders are small, family-orientated groups that are the majority of coffee supplies around the world. Furthermore, 100 million people all around the world rely on coffee for a living.

World Coffee Research and its member companies, in alignment with the National Coffee Association, are lobbying to see this legislation more strongly support these very smallholder farmers, agricultural research and development, and public-private partnerships. This, in turn, strengthened the global coffee supply chains that facilitate the delicious coffee we all know and love to brew.

Why is supporting smallholders important?

Climate pressures and the growing costs of production are putting small-scale coffee growers out of business or pushing them to switch to other crops—or out of farming altogether—at alarming rates.

Coffee cares about strengthening the agricultural systems, financial tools, and markets that coffee growers and other smallholder farmers rely on to grow their businesses, reduce risk, and ultimately reduce poverty. When these smallholders thrive, it benefits the coffee industry.

The Act has historically supported these types of interventions, which require a long-term, focused effort to yield results.

The WCR lobbying efforts strive to ensure the GFC Act reaffirms a focus on smallholder farmers and long-term agricultural development.

Keeping Coffee Diverse

Coffee grown in distinct places around the world enables the differentiation, dynamism, and expansion of the coffee industry at large. Yet coffee is highly vulnerable to pests, disease, climate pressures, and more.

Coffee cares about agricultural research and development that protects this industry by helping growers around the world contend with challenges, preserve natural resources, and continue growing a diverse array of coffees.

Innovation in complementary crops, like bananas and beans, is also critical as coffee farmers rely on growing a variety of crops to manage risk.

Coffee cares about strong seed systems and breeding programs in low-income countries that can develop and deploy solutions to smallholders while generating benefits for growers.