By Paul D. Rice and Jennifer McLean
The Consumer's Choice Council
October 15, 1999
Coffee is one of the most powerful and universal commodities in the world today. It is the second most traded commodity after petroleum and a vital source of export earnings for many of the developing countries that grow it. Some 20 million families in 70 countries now work directly in the cultivation of coffee, not including millions of other workers employed in its processing, trading, roasting and retailing. An estimated 11 million hectares of the world’s farmland are dedicated to coffee cultivation. Clearly, coffee has profound and far-reaching effects on the people, economies and ecosystems of the developing world.