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Topic: Nature article, 3rd try (111 lines)
1) From: David Lubertozzi
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Well heck, that seems to have sent the same exact link. Here's the text:
  
    
      Nature 425, 343 (25 September 2003);
doi:10.1038/425343a
    
    
      
    
    
      
    
    
      
      

Global project needed to tackle coffee crisis

Sir – The importance of coffee as an agricultural commodity cannot be overstated: its retail value of US$70 billion surpasses the forecast of $56 billion for total US agricultural exports for 2003. Although coffee is the world's most heavily traded commodity apart from oil, it has been overproduced for several years: some 117 million 60-kg bags were produced in 2002–2003 but only 108 million were consumed. Overproduction has resulted in historically low coffee prices (adjusted for inflation) of about 50 US cents a pound — the measure in which it is sold in international markets — or $1.10 a kilogram. Producing countries received about $5.5 billion out of the $70-billion total retail value for 2002–2003, compared with $10–12 billion received out of the $30-billion retail value in the early 1990s.

Low prices are having a devastating effect on at least 20 million coffee-farming families in more than 50 countries. Taking an average family size of five, more than 100 million people are dependent on coffee. In Ethiopia, for example, more than 700,000 families are involved in coffee production and more than 15 million people depend on coffee directly or indirectly. In Central America, 540,000 coffee workers lost their jobs between 2000 and 2002 because of low coffee prices. Efforts to reduce poverty are being seriously hampered by such a widespread crisis.

One rarely acknowledged victim of the coffee crisis is research, for which funding has been reduced. At Cenicafé, the National Coffee Research Centre in Colombia, for example, the workforce was reduced from 436 in 1988 to 169 in 2001, with further cuts in 2002. Research on coffee harvesting, processing, pest and disease control, post-harvest storage and mycotoxins, among others, is essential for the continued production of high-quality coffee. It is imperative for coffee research to be maintained, yet such efforts appear to be lost in the current economic crisis.

One mechanism for maintaining continuity in coffee research globally would be the creation of an international coffee-research development programme within one of the 16 centres operating under the auspices of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). A similar programme has already been set up for banana and plantain within the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. A coffee equivalent would coordinate global efforts in research, training, data-gathering and database management, and would report results, serving all coffee-producing countries. Global research priorities could be coordinated through the programme, minimizing duplicated research and making more efficient use of scarce coffee-research funds. The programme should also aim to facilitate development of research-based solutions to major production and quality problems, with smallholders in developing countries as the primary focus. Its structure should be non-bureaucratic, rapid-response, flexible and adaptable.

Fernando E. Vega Insect Biocontrol Laboratory, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA Eric Rosenquist National Program Staff, USDA, ARS, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA Wanda Collins Plant Sciences Institute, USDA, ARS, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA

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