New Report on Farm Profitability Launched at Avance Guatemala

New Report on Farm Profitability Launched at Avance Guatemala

A new report by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) reveals that increased yields on coffee farms tend to decrease their profitability in the short term, debunking the popular belief that high yields are a precursor to the economic sustainability of a farm. The report was launched at Avance, SCA’s new sustainability conference, hosted in Guatemala City by Anacafé, Guatemala’s national coffee association.

Authored by Dr. Christophe Montagnon of RD2 Vision, the new farm profitability report was commissioned by the SCA based on the vision of its volunteer leaders, who selected the profitability of coffee farming as an area of strategic focus in 2015.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Yields increase with higher costs per hectare showing that production yields are not necessarily correlated with farm profitability.
  • Increasing yields typically increases the cost per hectare to produce coffee, especially in the short term, and hence may decrease a farm’s profitability.
  • Lowering the input costs into the farming system can often be a better strategy for profitability than increasing yields in coffee production because low-input farming systems have low production costs.
  • Low-cost, low-yield systems generate a comparatively small amount of income for farmers, who diversify their income with other sources of revenue, but they are more profitable than a high-input, high yield system.
  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are effective tools for increasing yields but do not automatically translate into more profit for the farming system.

Kim Elena Ionescu, SCA’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Our goal with this new report is to provide a framework that helps development practitioners as well as professionals in the private and public sectors understand the real costs of coffee growing. While the data is limited and further research is needed to validate our findings, we believe this report is a valuable tool that can help decision-makers invest in more effective programs to increase the profitability of coffee farming.”

The new report is made possible by the support of members of the Specialty Coffee Association and is available to members on our website at sca.coffee/available-research-members/.

Not a member? Join and support the mission of the SCA at sca.coffee/join


Avance, the SCA’s first sustainability conference, was held in Guatemala on October 11-12, 2017, at the headquarters of Anacafé, Guatemala’s national coffee association. The two-day event was attended by over 150 sustainability leaders from across the coffee value chain who participated in a series of lectures, workshops, and panel discussions on topics that included climate change and coffee production economics.
To learn more about Avance visit www.avance.coffee