Organic coffee is grown using methods and
materials that have a low impact on the
environment. Organic production systems
replenish and maintain soil fertility,
reduce the use of toxic and persistent
pesticides and fertilizers, and build
biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party
certification organizations verify that
organic farmers abide by the law.
What does it mean to be certified?
In order for coffee to be certified and sold
as organic in the United States, it must be
produced in accordance with U.S. standards
for organic production and certified by an
agency accredited by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture. U.S. requirements for coffee
production include farming without synthetic
pesticides or other prohibited substances for
three years and a sustainable crop rotation
plan to prevent erosion, the depletion of soil
nutrients, and control for pests.
What is the size of the U.S. market?
Organic Trade Association data shows that
coffee sales in the United States amounted
to approximately $110 million in 2006, up
24 percent from the previous year. Other studies
show the figure could be much higher. A 2007
survey by Daniele Giovannucci and the Costa
Rica-based Sustainable Markets Intelligence Center
(CIMS) reported that approximately 65 million
pounds of organic coffee were imported into the
United States in 2006 with a retail value of
approximately $617 million. The authors estimate
the organic coffee sector represented 2.3 percent
of the total U.S. green coffee imports in 2006.
The 33 percent annual average growth rate for the
organic category documented by the researchers
between 2000 and 2007 dwarfs the estimated 1.5-2
percent projected annual growth rate of the
conventional coffee industry.
Where is this coffee grown?
This coffee is grown in 40 countries including
Bolivia, Burundi, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti,
Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao PDR, Madagascar,
Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru,
Philippines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timore-Leste,
Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Republic of
Tanzania, United States (Hawaii), Venezuela, Vietnam,
and Zambia. The leading producer countries are Peru,
Ethiopia, and Mexico.
What is the size of the world market?
Global sales reached 67,000 metric tons (or about
148 million pounds) in 2006, a 56 percent increase
from 2003 when approximately 42,000 MT were exported.
Forty-four percent of the total America, of which
approximately 85 percent was consumed in the United States.
What products are in the marketplace?
These coffee products now on the market include decaffeinated,
caffeinated, flavored and instant coffees, ice cream and yogurt,
coffee sodas, hard candies, and chocolate covered beans.
What do the labels mean?
The USDA organic seal can appear on any coffee product
that contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients
and that has been certified as organic by a certification
agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The coffee may also carry a label saying “100 percent organic”
Fair Trade certification focuses on labor and trade
standards to provide small-farmer co-operatives a
guaranteed price above the conventional market. Not
all Fair Trade Certifiedä coffee is necessarily organic.
However, Fair Trade CertifiedTM does require strict
environmental stewardship such as prohibiting the use of
genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the most hazardous
pesticides. Seventy-eight percent of all Fair Trade CertifiedTM
coffee sold in the United States is certified organic.
n the United States, transactions must be audited by TransFair
USA to use a Fair Trade CertifiedTM label. Certified organic
producers of Fair Trade coffee receive at least $1.55/lb
(as of June 1, 2008).
Bird Friendly® can only be used by operators that meet
inspection and certification requirements of the Smithsonian
Migratory Bird Center. All certified Bird Friendly® coffee
must also be certified organic. Bird Friendly® certification
requires that the coffee be shade-grown with a wide variety
of native shade trees and other shade-providing species. No
synthetic chemicals can be used in the processing of Bird Friendly®
coffee. For information on other eco-labels that may appear on
organic coffee, see www.eco-labels.org.
Article Source: Organic Trade Association
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