, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Competition for #smallholders is only going to get worse: "Vegebot is the first robot that can identify and harvest iceberg lettuce — bringing hope to farmers that one of the most demanding crops for human pickers could finally be automated. " osc.is/2LkO0rH
With the progression Brazil is making in industrialized, mechanized #coffee farming, robotic coffee pickers are an inevitability. That means that farming operations that have technical and business savvy will easily outproduce small holders and price them out of the game.
This is already happening and the industry is recognizing it. Some of the proposed solutions (such as subsidizing production), in my opinion only address symptoms but not the underlying problem: coffee farming is quickly becoming a more technologically advanced business.
Too many smallholder coffee farmers are neither tech savvy nor business savvy and simply can not compete. They and the entire industry would likely be better served if we spent our time either training them in business and tech or helping them transition out of coffee.
Tradition-based, small operations lacking business acumen simply can not compete with the level of industrial production coming from countries like Brazil and Vietnam. The choice for smallholders is boiling down to 'sell your coffee to a big company' or 'find a niche market.'
Without any level of business acumen, even the term 'niche market' will be a foreign concept to them. Subsidizing the price of coffee doesn't help move farmers forward—though it certainly can help the immediate problem of poverty.
The long term solution is training or transition.
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