Coffee in Brazil

free essayCoffee production in Brazil makes up one-third of the world production (“Brazilian coffee beans”, n.d). For one and a half century, Brazil was the largest coffee producer in the world. In 2009, it produced two million tons of coffee. 80% of total grown coffee is Arabica (“Brazilian coffee beans”, n.d.). Although Brazil is historically the world’s largest supplier of raw coffee, the US companies dominate the international market. 75% of the domestic coffee market in Brazil is controlled by just four companies (“Brazilian coffee beans”, n.d).

The Development of Coffee Production in Brazil

In 1727, on the territory of the state of Para, Brazil, the first coffee bushes were planted. A Brazilian legend says that coffee entered the country with the Colonel Francisco de Melo-Paleta, who brought it from the French colony Guiana. Blooming coffee bushes were a gift for him from the governor’s wife, who had fallen in love with him (Yamada, 2007). The cultivation of coffee, even for the needs of the domestic market, stimulated the development of slavery. To the middle of 19th century, at least one and a half million slaves were imported into the country (Luna & Klein, 2003).

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The yield of the Brazilian coffee for the export market contributed to the establishment of new plantations. For communication of the interior of the country with the coastal areas, railways were needed. Firstly, they were built around the country’s capital city – Rio de Janeiro. The main railway connected the Eastern Highlands of Sao Paulo to the port of Santos, which allowed expanding coffee production (Luna & Klein, 2003).

At the end of 19th century, due to the struggle against slavery and foreign policy pressure, the crisis of the coffee industry, associated with a lack of workers, began (Luna & Klein, 2003). On the plantations of Sao Paulo, labor of European immigrants was mostly used. The state produced 1.2 million bags of coffee, which constituted 25% of the total coffee production in Brazil. At the beginning of the 20th century, Sao Paulo grew 60% of the total Brazilian coffee (Luna & Klein, 2003). As a result, near 200 000 immigrants entered Sao Paulo state, and later 700 000 people more. The population of the city of Sao Paulo increased three fold. At the end of 19th century, 63% of the country’s export accounted for coffee, which exceeded 50% of the global coffee trade (Luna & Klein, 2003).

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The Decrease of Coffee Production in Brazil

At the beginning of the 20th century, overproduction crisis forced the government to turn to the valorisation policy (Ramos, 2010). Record harvest and unsold stocks led to a fall in coffee prices on the world market. The government banned the export of coffee. Export was allowed only after the price exceeded the specified mark. However, the valorisation policy provoked the establishing of new plantations and the expansion of coffee production, thus, making further crises inevitable. In fact, coffee lounge actually forced the government to support the expansion of coffee production at the expense of other sectors of the economy (Ramos, 2010).

When the World economic crisis began, Brazilian coffee industry ranked first place in the world coffee production. The number of coffee trees had reached 3 billion. Brazil produced 80% of the coffee in the world (Ramos, 2010). A result of the economic crisis was a catastrophic drop in coffee prices on the world market. The government again was forced to turn to the policy of valorization and forced curtailment of production. The state of Paraiba refused from planting coffee. By the middle of 20th century, the number of coffee trees had been reduced by one-third and amounted 2 billion (Ramos, 2010).

The government repeatedly practiced the destruction of surplus. Million bags of coffee were burned or drowned in the sea. However, Brazil’s economy remained monocultural and depended solely on coffee. The harvest remained 55 percent of the world coffee charges, which still accounted for 40% of Brazilian exports (Ramos, 2010). Due to the establishment of new plantations, coffee production increased and amounted 60% of Brazilian exports, despite government industrialization programs. Depletion of soil on the territory of the state of Sao Paulo led to the transfer of the main production center to new coffee plantations of the state of Minas Gerais, Paraná, and partly to Mato Grosso do Sul (Ramos, 2010). From this period, a continual reduction of the role of Brazil in the world balance of coffee production began.

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The Current State of Coffee Production in Brazil

The country has vast coffee plantations. At the beginning of 20th century, the coffee plantation area was near 30 thousand kilometers. The main plantations are located in the states of Parana, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais. Coffee beans are harvested from July to September. More than 3.5 million people in Brazil are involved in coffee production. In 2014, there was an unprecedented drought. As a result, coffee trees were greatly affected. However, the drought allowed the beans to mature much faster than usual. Thus, despite this precedent, Brazil remains the world’s number one supplier of coffee for many countries.

How It Works


Brazil has been the world leader in the production of coffee for over 150 years. Vast territories are allotted for the cultivation of coffee trees. Millions of people are involved in its production. Coffee export has become the main force in the development of Brazilian economy. Due to the need for coffee distribution, the railways appeared in Brazil. However, with the overproduction crisis that occurred at the beginning of 20th century, the valorisation policy was intervened by the government. Coffee production experienced the harsh crisis. To date, Brazil is number one supplier of coffee in the world.

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