Limits to Organic Coffee Growth

Are there limits to organic coffee growth? Considering the benefits of drinking healthy organic coffee versus regular coffee and the health effects of roasted coffee in general it would be a shame to see organic coffee consumption peak or even decline. However, the reality of the situation is that there is only so much land and so many growers of food in general. And, there is an ever increasing need to feed the people of the planet Earth. Let’s look at organic coffee and limits to organic coffee growth from a couple of different viewpoints. From the point of view of the consumer, organic coffee is a safer product than regular coffee. Regular coffee has been shown to contain more than a hundred unwelcome contaminants. Herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers used to fight plant pests and to boost production tend to arrive along with you morning or mid-day cup of coffee. From the view of the coffee planter traditional, organic means of growing coffee can be beneficial but also at a cost that the planter does not wish to bear. The development of sun resistant varieties of coffee have boosted production of coffee and at the same time led to damage of the environment. Organic coffee growers cause less damage to the environment but there may be limits to organic coffee growth because of the work involved and the need to feed the world.

Planters often decide to give up producing shade grown organic coffee because they can boost production by 30 percent if they use sun resistant varieties. If they cannot make enough profit growing coffee they will grow something else. The alternative is for a coffee planter to stick with traditional, organic practices in growing coffee. As organic coffee sells for a higher price it is possible for a coffee planter to charge more for his product and make a better living. However, to sell coffee as USDA organic coffee the planter needs to refrain from using synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and be certified for doing so. In addition to using sustainable growing practices planting coffee a grower needs to follow precise procedures in picking, storing, processing, roasting, storing, and shipping organic coffee. The limits to organic coffee growth may, in the end, be set by the difficulty many have in following organic, sustainable growing practices.

Following the correct procedures lends to safe organic coffee but it is time consuming and can be difficult. For many growers it ends up seeming easier to grow coffee by more “modern” methods and increase production, especially in a market where much of the world’s reserves are down and where recently el Niño ravaged coffee growing areas of Brazil, the world’s largest producer. In a recent published interview the head of Nestle, the world’s largest food company, noted that feeding the people of the world is a constant challenge and that, in his opinion, organic foods in general are something that those from rich nations can afford while of the world simply needs to put something with calories in a food dish. The limits to organic coffee growth may simply be defined in the end by world hunger.

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