Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer and exporter. From 2006 to 2016, the country produced from 40 to 50 million coffee bags of arabica and robusta per year in 5.51 acres of land (estimates from the harvest of 2016/2017).
Arabica coffee represents 80% of the total output, so that Minas Gerais is Brazil’s largest coffee producing state, responsible for 50% of the country’s coffee production. Espirito Santo state is the most important conilon/robusta growing state in the country.
Because of the crisis of the conventional coffee in 2000, many producers migrated to the organic system, mainly due to the possibilities of selling coffee with higher prices. From 2002 to 2004, Brazil produced up to 300,000 of organic coffee bags per year. However, those producers did not have good knowledge on organic practices of soil management, pests and diseases, etc. In addition, some of them did not implement good practices on coffee quality and post-harvest. Consequently, their crops productivity reduced and they faced difficulties to trade medium quality coffees. With the return of better prices of the conventional coffee, many producers abandoned their organic crops and got back to the conventional system. Those who remained firm with the organic system, owned good production techniques, good coffee quality, strong ecological principles, fairly remunerative and stable market, and good productivity and reasonable costs.
Therefore, between 2005 to 2013, organic coffee production has maintained an annual average of 70 to 80 thousand bags. Only in the two last years there was a change in this scenario and a greater stimulus to the organic production, and for the harvest of 2017 is expected from 80 to 90 thousand bags of organic and certified coffee and an additional amount of 20 thousand bags under transition to organic.
At the global level, the cultivated area with organic coffee practically quadrupled in the last years, jumping from 495,000 acres, in 2004, to almost 2,000,000 acres, in 2014. The current trends to the next years suggest even more growth. In Brazil, the current estimate of the cultivated area under organic coffee is 5 to 6 thousand hectares.
Globally, the country is also recognized for its production of natural coffees, beyond the pulped natural and washed systems are also employed, which results in a wide array of quality profile and flavors, appreciated by buyers worldwide. Specialty coffee shops and brands in the US, Europe and Japan use selected coffee beans from the best Brazilian growing areas. Brazilian naturals are essential for a good quality espresso.
The main coffee growing regions are South Minas, Cerrado de Minas, Matas de Minas, Mogiana Paulista, Conilon Capixaba, Montanhas do Espírito Santo, Planalto da Bahia, Norte Pioneiro do Paraná and Rondônia. There are also several micro regions specialized in the production of high quality coffees, with unique ‘terroir’.
It grows constantly in Brazil the idea of sustainable coffee and certification standards which include all tthe supply chain. Some important standards/systems are: UTZ Certified, Rainforest Alliance, 4C, Fair Trade and Organic.
The demand for organic coffees, certified and sustainable, mainly in countries where consumption is a strong habit, like the US and the Central Europe, has significantly grown in the last years. Consumers are increasingly valuing good production practices, ethics, labour relations and productive systems that do not harm the environment.