Heat Waves & Cold Fronts - Extreme Weather is damaging coffee crops in Brazil.
From Augusto Carneiro, Founder & Chief Friendship Officer
We have been following news of the extreme weather in Brazil. While we’ve been experiencing temperatures reaching 115°F here in the Pacific Northwest, Brazil has just gone through an extreme cold front that caused a historic frost, resulting in a substantial loss to crops for many coffee farmers in the country. Because Brazil produces such a large percentage of the world’s coffee exports, a crisis there affects the entire global coffee market, this single weather event is sending the coffee commodities market through the roof. Prices soared 25% in the first 2 days and are now 40% over what they were one week ago!
Prices soared 25% in the first 2 days and are now 40% over what they were one week ago.
I have been in touch with my cousin Diogo - Fazenda Recreio, and Tuca - Fazenda Santa Alina to see how each of their farms fared through the recent weather change. Diogo considers himself super lucky; less than 5% of his crop was affected by the frost. Tuca, on the other hand, is experiencing a greater loss; while they are still assessing the damage, they are expecting a loss of 20 to 30%. Frost severely damages coffee plants. It can take 2-3 years for a full recovery.
My family shared some photos with me. I’ve never seen this much ice in Brazil (!) or thermometer readings this low (-5.7°C or 22°F).
What does this mean for you - the coffee aficionado - and for us at Nossa Familia?
In the short run, not too much. Given our deep and authentic relationships with all the farmers we work with, we have coffee guaranteed and reserved for the next 6 - 12 months. On top of that we already pay well above fair trade prices, so market fluctuations are attenuated for us, and thus our customers. However, when we add the losses due to weather together with the growing minimum wage (which we think is a good thing), and the rapid increase in the cost of living in Portland, it is inevitable that price adjustments will happen in the near future.
In a way the coffee market increase could be a good thing. Hear me out...while you may be inconvenienced by a $1 per lb or $.25 - $.50 increase in your cup of joe, this increase is much needed help to coffee producers who have dealt with low prices for the past two or so years. The higher price will also help and encourage those who just lost a big part of their production to re-plant and stay in coffee.
An Interconnected World
For years now we’ve been seeing out of whack weather patterns at our farms. Dry in the rainy season. Rainy in the dry (harvest) season. Too hot and too cold. For the past 20 years, the weather has become reliably unreliable -and it seems to be accelerating. As a company we have made commitments to go Carbon Neutral by 2030; events like this make us wonder if 2030 is fast enough? We all have a role to play in this. The slower we act, the more we’ll see climate change affecting our lives and our pocket books.