Coffee farmers hit by inflation and high fertilizer costs

Many people drink coffee daily, but probably don’t know how we get our coffee. With the war in Ukraine and rising inflation, it is becoming more and more difficult for producers to have a cup of coffee in their hands.

A roaster in Idaho sources coffee beans from Guatemala, which is a journey of about 3,000 miles and can cost farmers a pretty penny.

“For future generations, it gets a little scary,” said Eric Needham, owner of Revival Coffee. “It’s always amazing that we can get coffee from as far away as we do. It is such a global economy that we rely on.

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Russia is one of the main suppliers of fertilizers and, in addition to the rising costs of inflation, coffee farmers and producers are feeling the effects.

“It started with COVID and just the shipping industry, which affected fertilizers because after some research a lot of the fertilizers are coming out of Russia as well as the potash they use from Belarus,” Needham said. “The South American regions are really suffering the most from fertilizers.”

Eric, who owns Revival Coffee Roasters with his wife Cam Needham, said many farmers are on a fixed budget, which makes it difficult to adapt to rising fertilizer prices and ultimately raises concerns about crop impacts from next year.

“The amount of coffee that comes out, they’re just not capable of producing,” Needham said.

Pressure from fertilizers and inflation add to the usual challenges of farming, such as crops going badly.

“Then it puts the whole market in a panic, and everyone rushes to buy coffee and prices skyrocket,” Needham said.

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At the store, customers may not even notice a change.

“As a producer, we rarely change. I don’t think we ever raised prices, but the cost fluctuated up to 50% more,” Needham said.

Instead, customers may notice what is known as “contraction flattening” where the package size of products decreases while the price remains the same.

“Usually at the store you used to get a pound of coffee, now you get 12 oz. So it’s like the cereal box they used to be so big, and now they’re so big. You pay the same price but you actually don’t get as much as before,” Needham said. “It’s amazing that we can get it for, like I always say, as cheap as possible because I can’t believe they can grow it, hand-pick it, and then the beans ship to us. in shipping containers and then they have to be trucked over here and then we have to roast it and when you roast it you lose about 20% just to the drying process and then you have to package it, c It’s amazing that we can even afford a cup of coffee at the end of this whole process.

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