In general, coffee is consumed in the developed world and grown in the developing world by smallholder farmers. There are two main commercial species of coffee shrub: Arabica, which is higher yielding and native to Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of Kenya; and Robusta which is native to western and central sub-Saharan Africa. The first records of coffee date back to around the 9th century. Coffee travelled From Africa to Europe and with its seafarers to Asia and the Americas. Today Brazil and Vietnam are by far the largest coffee producers, accounting for 34% and 13% of world production, respectively. In terms of acreage, coffee production in Vietnam ranks 5th in the world. Africa produces only 11% of the world’s coffee on 19% of its area (Ethiopia and Uganda are the big producers, followed by Cote d’Ivoire). Except for Ethiopia which consumes 40% of its coffee production (the rest is exported), large producers export nearly all their coffee. In Uganda and Ethiopia coffee constitutes 21% of the export value of agricultural products. In the Cote d’Ivoire, the third largest coffee producer in Africa, coffee exports only make up 1.5% of agricultural trade; here cocoa has taken the place of coffee. Coffee cultivation is often tainted in controversy as farmers increasingly abandon traditional shade-coffee in favor of sun cultivation, a more industrial approach. While full sun causes bushes to produce more berries and speeds up berry ripening, it requires the clearing of forests, larger volumes of water, higher inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, and it decreases biodiversity.

Reference to numbers/statistics are from FAOSTAT 2010 for the year 2008

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