WCR applauds U.S. Congressional support for coffee sustainability around the world

Legislation supports the economic empowerment of smallholder farmers

World Coffee Research (WCR) welcomes the enactment of the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022, included in the National Defense Authorization Act, this week in the United States. This legislation supports the economic empowerment and sustainability of smallholder farmers in low-income countries, who make up the majority of coffee growers around the world.

The U.S. Congress also approved a 2023 budget that advances support for agricultural research and development of value to the coffee industry. Support includes an increase in funding for the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"We are thrilled to see the U.S. Congress taking action to support smallholder farmers, a critical supplier of coffee for our member companies in the U.S. and around the world," said WCR CEO Jennifer “Vern” Long. "When they thrive, our industry is able to thrive, and those who love to drink coffee are able to do so well into the future.”

“As coffee increasingly comes under threat from climate change and other challenges, its future is not guaranteed. Support for growers as well as coffee research are key to ensuring this valuable commodity can keep growing and providing economic benefits around the world."

National Coffee Association President and CEO William “Bill” Murray added: “As the voice of America’s favorite beverage, NCA commends this multifaceted support for coffee farmers who are at the heart of coffee’s many unique contributions to food security, sustainable agricultural productivity, and healthy communities around the world. NCA looks forward to continuing to work within the coffee community and with policy makers to prioritize coffee in whole-of-government strategies to advance U.S. objectives.”

Implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act extends for five years a program called Feed the Future, which helps smallholder farmers in low-income countries grow their way out of poverty and hunger. The program includes support for agricultural research and development and private sector partnerships that could benefit small-scale coffee growers. It also strengthens their connections to international markets and local research capacity. AFRI is a competitive grant program administered by USDA that funds research projects on a variety of agricultural commodities, with potential to support coffee growers in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

"We look forward to working with USDA and USAID on turning this Congressional support into impact next year," Long said.

In the United States, coffee supports more than 1.6 million jobs and $225 billion in economic benefits annually. By supporting programs that help growers overseas as well as in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Congress also supports the longevity and growth of this industry at home – welcome news for the 64 percent of Americans who drink coffee daily.