The world can’t resist a good cup of coffee. From 2014 to 2018, there was an increase in coffee consumption worldwide. The coffee trade at the global level reflected this increase. In 2015, the global coffee industry was valued at approximately US$77 billion, with trade accounting for US$66.5 billion. Eager to be part of the global trade for coffee, the Philippines is gearing to increase its annual export at the rate of 2.3% (International Coffee Organization, 2018).
Domestic demand is seeing an increase. The country has been increasing its export of instant coffee by volume since 2011 and is poised to become one of the world’s five largest consumers by 2021. Coffee is being pushed as the Philippines’ next big thing. The road to global coffee domination is, however, not without its tensions and casualties. On paper, industry-driven development projects look good and benign. Development has never looked appealing and timely. Coffee, its manufacturers will argue, has become an everyday necessity. And yet, a warm cup of coffee belies the struggles and tensions on the ground.
The way coffee is treated has evolved. From an ordinary agricultural product, it has become a significant part of everyday social life and an important commodity to be traded, able to earn traders and speculators large amounts of profit. The trade has, however, created an imbalance in the coffee chain, between traders and manufacturers and those on the ground. Further down the chain, it has resulted in hazards for the communities and the environment where they are grown.
This paper looks into the story of coffee production: how it has been transformed from a simple agricultural product into a global commodity, and how it impacts on a community of indigenous people in the Philippines.
For more information contact:
Mai Taqueban, Legal Rights and Natural Resource Center