The demand for organic coffee in Brazil has been growing in recent years. Although the product is considered relatively expensive when compared to other organic sources, such as countries in South and Central America. Its peculiar sensory characteristics make the item to be constantly used in blends in various roasteries worldwide.
The supply of such products in domestic and foreign markets, is quite limited and this fact is explained by the low number of producer organizations in the country. The estimated organic coffee production in Brazil is about 0.4% of the total.
The none welcome of implantation of production units, is mainly due to the difficulty in achieving the balance of nutrients in the soil, which allows, in turn, increased productivity per hectare, which currently is around 26 bags.
Nitrogen is still the biggest challenge for organic production, as industrialized organic fertilizers or green manure, have a lower percentage of this nutrient to fertilizers available for conventional coffee.
According to Rosangela Paiva – President of the Organic Association of Southern Minas, the production cost of organic agriculture on family farms compared to conventional, is higher. The enhancement is mainly due to prices of inputs when industrialized, such as the Rock phosphate, as well as the cost of hand labor, which can be related directly to the culture or the production of organic fertilizers.
An example that illustrates the increase in prices of industrial inputs, is the Rock Phosphate (Source of phosphorus for coffee) which increased by 53% in the price per ton, between the years 2010 and 2015, according to data provided by the Cooperativa dos Agricultores Familiares de Poço Fundo.
In addition to the above factors, Rosangela adds the financial impact of the implementation of culture, which in most “poor” soil nutrient, can be up to 30% higher than the deployment of a conventional crop.
In the transition period of culture, which is 3 years, there is a sharp fall in production. The crop starts to receive organic cultivation and in many cases, the product is still sold without any added value.
“There is a need to invest in the organic coffee sector from Brazil so that there is an increase in its volume of production associated with coffee quality and socio and environmental sustainability, ensuring competitiveness in the specialty coffee sector by the Brazilian producers.
The increase in the number of producers and productivity and the cost reduction of production will result in many improvements on the sector, such as more constant offer of this product to the national and international market, more stable prices and consequently higher consumption.
Studies and personal experience have shown that is possible to produce organic with reasonable cost of production, good productivity and fine quality. “- Says Cássio Franco Moreira – Chairman of ACOB (Association of Coffee Growers of Organic Brazil).
The numerous benefits provided by organic coffee, related to the environment and sustainability has proven increasingly as a global trend.
Brazil, which is the world’s largest coffee producer, has a strong potential and also consolidates as the largest organic coffee producer. For this to be possible it is necessary to facilitate the accession of producers by investing in research and expertise focused on organic coffee, as well as search by price differentials for the coffee produced in the culture during the conversion period.
Original Text: Daiana R. Tavares