The coffee paradox: how farmers and consumers are held hostage by the market dominance of a few

By Saliem Fakir


About 2.5 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day.

Culture and coffee are treated as synonymous. Ever since the first coffee shops opened doors in the Middle East, around the 15th century onwards, coffee culture spread like wild fire in the western world.

Coffee houses are places where artists, writers, intellectuals and those seeking the pleasures of good conversation are meant to hang out. However, this image of civility belies the real world of coffee trade, which is far more Hobbesian if you are a coffee grower.

And, where a good cup of coffee mediates civil culture in one world, poor prices for producers imposes upon them many un-civilities. The ‘hidden hand’ of monopoly control can heap upon poor farmers untold misery and cruelty.

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