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The Top Coffee Producers by Region

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Whether it is from Starbucks, an Aeropress, or the vending machine down the hall, the beans that make your cup of coffee are likely to have come from just a handful of countries. In any case, the importance of the process by which the beans have been grown, and by whom, have only recently been contemplated by the average westerner in recent years through the rise of fair trade initiatives. What follows is a comprehensive list of the top coffee producers by region.

Brazil in South America is the largest coffee producer in the world at 17,000,000 tonnes in 2008. Alongside its other major agricultural exports, such as soybeans, rice, and beef, the government has recently implemented The Land Reform Program in an aim to generate two million jobs. In recent years, the devastating encroachment of the agriculture industry on the Amazon rainforest has led to criticism on the country’s green policy. Subsequently, the government have since implemented an Environmental Crimes Law. Interestingly the country only ranks 19th in terms of average coffee consumption per person.

Vietnam is now a big producer of Robusta coffee beans producing over 15,000,000 tonnes of green coffee in 2008. Since a succession of government implemented land reform measures, Vietnam’s prolific agricultural industry (started and still upheld by rice production), has also become the largest producer of cashew nuts with Coffee as its third biggest agricultural export. Unlike rice, wet paddy fields are not needed for growing coffee beans and, at least in terms of methane production, coffee production is less harmful to the environment.

Indonesia is the third largest exporter of coffee, the largest producer of washed Arabica coffee and the fourth biggest green bean producer in the world. Unlike the aforementioned countries, the agriculture sector makes up significantly less (14 percent) of the republic’s overall economy, despite making up for almost half of the country’s employment. Aside from coffee, Indonesia’s biggest imports are rice, tea, and palm oil – which has suffered significant ecological controversy in the last few years.

Further significant coffee-producing areas include Columbia, Mexico, and Ethiopia – which has emerged in recent years as a prime location for growing. Ethiopia’s rise has caused concern amongst some commentators who have highlighted that the amount of water that is needed for coffee production might be best used elsewhere, particularly in a country which is so famously short of rain.

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