Coffee's Next Generation of Farmers

As millions of ageing farmers set to retire, they are looking to their children to work on their labor-intensive coffee farms.

Rich Watanabe
February 12, 2022

More than 25 million smallholder coffee farmers producing about 80% of the world’s specialty green coffee beans are ageing.

As millions of ageing farmers set to retire, they are looking to their children to work on their labor-intensive coffee farms. However, rather than following in the footsteps of their parents, many of their children are increasingly leaving the farms and migrating to cities in the hopes of finding better opportunities there. The younger generation no longer see coffee farming as a dependable source of income. And rightfully so, many of these children have witnessed their families’ poverty and hardships that come from innumerable challenges of growing coffee, everything from natural disasters, decreasing yields, abusive trade practices, local demand being stripped away by larger global corporate coffee chains, to a lack of infrastructure. For most of them, migration to cities is not a choice, but a necessity.

Unless coffee farming becomes a more sustainable livelihood in the long-term, there may be no one left in the farms to grow the coffee we love so dearly. Thus, the challenge for us is how to make a career in coffee and coffee farming truly compelling for young, passionate, and talented people.

Over the years, The Coffee Heritage Project has been getting more coffee enthusiasts interested on where their coffees come from, and in volunteering for seasonal work at local coffee origins. It is truly an inspiring scene seeing both coffee growers and enthusiasts working alongside at the farm.

Hopefully, our passionate coffee enthusiasts turn into coffee’s next generation of farmers!

For more on this topic, CHP shares this BBC documentary on why the world is running out of farmers, tap link to view video,

Read more


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