The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development


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It is not material quality that contemporary coffee consumers pay for, but mostly symbolic quality and in-person services. The Coffee Paradox seeks ways out from this situation by addressing some key questions: What kinds of quality attributes are combined in a coffee cup or coffee package? Who is producing these attributes? How can part of these attributes be produced by developing country farmers?

To what extent are specialty and sustainable coffees achieving these objectives? Inhalt List of tables figures and boxes. In consuming countries, coffee has become a fashionable drink and coffee bar chains have expanded rapidly. At the same time, international coffee prices have fallen dramatically and producers receive the lowest prices in decades. This book shows that the coffee paradox exists because what farmers sell and what consumers buy are becoming increasingly 'different' coffees.

It is not material quality that contemporary coffee consumers pay for, but mostly symbolic quality and in-person services. As long as coffee farmers and their organizations do not control at least parts of this 'immaterial' production, they will keep receiving low prices. The Coffee Paradox seeks ways out from this situation by addressing some key questions: What kinds of quality attributes are combined in a coffee cup or coffee package? Who is producing these attributes? How can part of these attributes be produced by developing country farmers?

To what extent are specialty and sustainable coffees achieving these objectives? Halaman terpilih Halaman Tajuk. Jadual Kandungan.


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Kandungan Tables figures and boxes. Who calls the shots? First, we provide a brief overview of how coffee flows from producer to consumer — including its material transformations. Second, we analyse historical trends in production and exports. Third, we examine various systems of coffee labour mobilization and organization of production.

The Coffee Paradox - Benoit Daviron, Stefano Ponte - Häftad () | Bokus

Fourth, we analyse a succession of different forms of market organization, including their constitutive elements such as contracts, grades and standards. Finally, we examine changes in retail and consumption patterns, focusing in particular on the latte revolution that has taken place in the last 25 years with the emergence of the specialty coffee industry. In Chapter 3, we examine issues of regulation and governance in coffee value chains. In this context, particular attention is paid to the corporate strategies of key actors, especially large roasters.

In the third section of this chapter, we provide in-depth case studies of regulatory changes in coffee value chains originating in four East African countries Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development

These countries have liberalized their domestic markets to different extents and with different trajectories, leading to different local outcomes of global transformation. In the final section of this chapter, we look at international coffee prices in a historical perspective. We show that the historical cycle of coffee booms and busts has become much less pronounced since the s — and thus that the current coffee crisis is quite different from those in the s and the s.


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We also show that changes in the ownership of coffee stocks and their different degrees of availability have much to say about the current crisis, which is characterized for the first time in history by low international prices and low levels of stocks. In Chapter 4, we apply the analytical framework provided in Chapter 1 to coffee quality. We follow coffee quality from farm to cup, not only in its material attributes, but also in its symbolic and in-person service attributes.

As in Chapter 3, the focus in terms of producing countries is on East Africa. In consuming countries, we cover both mainstream and specialty markets.

The Coffee Dilemma

Because types and patterns of consumption vary from country to country, more detailed information is provided in relation to the US and Italy. In Chapter 5, we examine the new frontier of coffee quality: sustainability. Sustainability certifications, codes of conduct, and sourcing guidelines are multiplying and becoming mainstream. They are extending the content of symbolic quality attributes beyond brand, ambience of consumption and packaging design among others by embedding environmental and socio-economic preoccupations in the description of coffee.

First, we evaluate the impact on supposed beneficiaries of four groups of coffee certifications: organic, fair trade, shade-grown and Utz Kapeh. Chapter 6 is structured in two main parts. In the first part, we provide empirical evidence of value distribution along the global value chain for coffee and specific value chains various combinations of Uganda and Tanzania coffees on the one side, and mainstream retail, bar consumption, and sustainability coffees in the US and Italy on the other. This analysis provides a stark picture of inequalities along coffee value chains.

However, singling out what attributes are valued at what points of value chains also helps to identify possible solutions to the commodity problem. We examine the more theoretical underpinnings of these solutions in the second part of this chapter. Four aspects are covered in some depth: 1 the role of quality conventions in changing the governance of value chains; 2 whether the purported transparency of alternative commodity networks helps producers; 3 territoriality as a vehicle for linking responsibility with specific places; and 4 the potential and real roles of consumers and retailers in stimulating social change.

The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade And The Elusive Promise Of Development

We lay out the more practical and policy-oriented aspects of solving the commodity problem in Chapter 7. We first examine what regulation can and cannot do for producers given the changes in governance of value chains that have taken place in the last 25 years. We also critique business- and donor-oriented solutions to the coffee crisis that have been proposed thus far.

While these approaches, at first sight, seem to relate mostly to niche markets, we will show that they have broad implications for the future of mainstream markets as well. He would like to thank them for their support and friendship. Benoit started some of the background work for this book during a one-year stay as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He is grateful to Alain de Janvry for his kindness and hospitality. He would also like to thank Vinod Aggarwal, Peter Evans and Andrew Janos for the stimulating seminars they offered during this time.

Stefano is deeply indebted to his colleagues for their intellectual stimulation, social companionship and hard work during these years. He received support and cooperation from too many people to be listed here.

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He would like to acknowledge the support received at these two institutions. Invaluable feedback and constructive criticism on earlier drafts of this book and related papers were provided by many scholars, policy makers and activists. All errors and omissions are entirely our responsibility. They have both contributed equally to the book and are equally responsible for its limitations.

The first term is used to analyse general features in relation to the movement of coffee from production to consumption. The second term is used when a specific strand of the global value chain for coffee is examined either at the production or consumption ends, or both.

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Thus, we will talk about one global value chain for coffee, but also about distinct coffee value chains, such as the Uganda-to-Italy chain for Robusta coffee, or the Tanzania-to-US chain for specialty Mild Arabica coffee. However, it was not one mainly based on coffee. The maximum share of the value of coffee exports over total exports was 11 per cent in and 30 per cent of agricultural exports during that year.

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The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development
The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development

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