Youth are the most needed innovation the coffee industry needs, shows a new report co-authored by Leonidas Murembya, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Economics. Murembya, together with colleagues from the MSU departments of Agriculture, Food, and Resources Economics and International Studies and Programs, and Food Science and Human Nutrition, produced the 2021 Coffee Development Report titled, "The Future of Coffee: Investing in Youth for a Resilient and Sustainable Coffee Sector,” with funding from the International Coffee Organization and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“The one key takeaway is that coffee needs youth and youth need coffee.” Murembya said. “Our recommendations are that young people need skills, space, productive and financial resources to meaningfully contribute to a more resilient and sustainable coffee value chain.”
The report is designed to inform all stakeholders in the coffee global value chain such as policy makers in coffee-producing countries, international development agencies, non-governmental organizations, development institutions and private companies. Murembya hopes that the information in the report will inspire all stakeholders to take an active role in investing and training the next generation of business workers and owners to avoid disruptions in production.
“The coffee industry is experiencing an aging farmer population while its demand continues to rise due in part to increasing consumption in emerging economies and a stronger interest in specialty coffee and product innovations in developed countries, as well as increasing domestic consumption in coffee producing countries,” he said.
To compile the report, Murembya and his team reviewed existing literature from current youth-focused programs; performed an analysis of secondary data from the International Labor Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Population Division, the International Coffee Organization, the World Bank and others; and interviewed key informants using web-based surveys of relevant coffee value chain actors.
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