ITC’s The Coffee Guide finds 100M families rely on the coffee industry

ITC The Coffee Guide

The International Trade Centre (ITC), through its Alliances for Action initiative, released the fourth edition of The Coffee Guide on 1 October in commemoration of International Coffee Day.

The new edition updates the latest trends of the last decade seen in the coffee industry, especially for quality, digitalisation, climate change, finance and risk, and consumer preferences.

Free to access globally, the guide was created in collaboration with more than 70 coffee industry actors from across the globe, from seed to cup, with an aim to create a more sustainable sector. As such, the guide focuses on sustainability, inclusiveness, and partnership.

The guide also focuses on exploring how critical coffee is to many people in the global economy. According to the ITC it was found that in major producing coffee countries, the coffee bean is a main source of income with roughly 95 per cent of the worlds 12.5 million coffee farms smaller than 5000 square metres.

Of these, 2.2million coffee farmers are found in Ethiopia, 1.8 million in Uganda, and 1.3 million in Indonesia. Burundi, Colombia, Kenya, and Vietnam each have more than 500,000 coffee farmers.

Offering fresh industry data, the guide classifies production and consumption numbers by coffee quality segment, including standard, premium, and specialised, rather than the traditional Arabica or Robusta classification.

“This guide is designed to be a practical tool for producers, exporters, and other value chain stakeholders to support a positive transformation of the sector,” says the International Trade Centre.

Within the guide it was found that coffee-producing countries ship most of their beans overseas, earning US$20 billion in exports annually, with Ethiopia counting on coffee for more than a quarter of its export earnings.

Across the globe, at least 100 million families depend on the coffee supply chain for their livelihoods, from the producers to the traders and roasters, to the distributors and marketers and even the coffee waste disposals or recycling services.

Despite being the backbone of the coffee industry, at least 5.5 million small producers live below the international poverty line of $3.20 a day, says the ITC.

“Farm-level income must grow sustainably to secure the coffee industry’s future. Public-private partnerships, alliances between supply chain operators, and policy are also instrumental to drive it towards widespread change,” says Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.

“This guide is a step towards providing insights into making this possible.” ‘

The ITC further found that coffee consumption was highest in Europe, the United States, and Brazil, with South-East Asia fast catching up. Across the globe, rising incomes and a higher standard of living for the middle class has seen coffee consumption boosted for both high-quality and instant or flavoured coffees.

It was also found that coffee is commercially produced in more than 50 countries with about three million cups of coffee consumed worldwide, every day. This number is growing at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent.

Despite this, farmers still face volatile market prices, says the ITC, which is making their business extremely difficult to manage. This is combined with a context of rural youth leaving farming, gender inequality, and human rights concerns.

“The coffee market and its value chain are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a profound impact on production, consumption and cross-border trade,” says Coke-Hamilton.

“Most producer countries and some consumer countries still face major transport logistics challenges and border delays that have affected the coffee trade.”

The book will be translated into Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

To read The Coffee Guide click here, or for more information on the ITC, visit

Send this to a friend