Coffee is one of the most extensively traded commodities in the world-with an annual production of over 12 billion pounds.
Meeting that demand is not an easy task. Hence, farming methods have been evolved to meet the demands of production- but often at the cost of health both human and environmental. The end results are non-organic, conventional coffee that many are used to.
Each coffee growing countries have their individual monitoring systems and limits for pesticide use. The grower’s regulations vary with that of the importing countries. Along with the risk posed to consumers, there is a profusion of evidence that the pesticides and herbicides used on coffee farms enter the local water shed. Also, since pesticides are the most hazardous when they are inhaled or come in to contact with the skin, they pose a major threat to the farmers, their families and local ecosystems.
The below table shows the various toxic chemicals used in coffee farming, from a human health perspective.
|Name of Chemical||Type||WHO Classification||IARC Group||Banned||Legalized Countries|
|Abamectin||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||EU, US|
|Aldicarb||Insecticide||Extremely Hazardous||Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (No available studies on humans)||Globally||Brazil|
|Carbofuran||Pesticide||Highly Hazardous||No available research focused on humans||In the EU and Canada, “unofficially” in the US||Brazil|
|Chlorpyrifos||Pesticide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||US banned for household use||EU, US in agriculture|
|Cirpoconazole / cyproconazole||Fungicide||Slightly Hazardous||NA||US banned in most household use||US in agriculture, EU|
|Cypermethrin / ZetaCypermethrin||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||Public use banned in India||US, EU|
|Dichlorvos / DDVP||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||Potentially carcinogenic to humans||EU, UK, Denmark, for most households: Sweden, US banned use||US|
|Disulfoton||Insecticide||Extremely Hazardous||No available research focused on humans||Banned in EU, India||Brazil|
|Endosulfan||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||No available research focused on humans||EU and most countries banned, restricted in US||China, Brazil|
|Haloxyfop||Herbicide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||EU, with limited-use extensions depending on country||US|
|Imidacloprid||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||Canada plans to ban within 5 years||US, EU|
|Methyl parathion / parathion-methyl||Insecticide||Extremely Hazardous||carcinogenic||Banned in India since 2016, banned in Indonesia, Banned in EU||Limited use in the US|
|Paraquat dichloride||Herbicide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||Banned in EU since 2007, Switzerland||India, US, Brazil, Colombia, others|
|Permethrin||Insecticide||Moderately Hazardous||carcinogenic||EU banned||Restricted crop use in the US|
|Phorate||Insecticide||Extremely Hazardous||NA||Banned in the EU; Banned in India since 2016||US|
|Propiconazole||Fungicide||Moderately Hazardous||NA||In Europe since 1998||US|
|Terbufos||Insecticide||Extremely Hazardous||NA||Banned in EU||Limited use in the US, Brazil|
What Organic Means for the Farmer and the Environment?
In the production of organic coffee, no synthetic fertilizers or chemical are used in production, which means cleaner beans, air, land and water. The fertilizers used are coffee pulp, chicken manure, or compost.
Organic farms also fight climate change by emitting less carbon than farms that use chemicals, while at the same time sequestering considerable amounts of carbon. On top of that, organic coffee beans have plenty of healthy antioxidants, and many people can even feel the difference.
Organic certification and other environmental certifications are certainly the way forward to understand if the coffee production is being monitored for pesticides and other chemicals. As the largest producer and exporter of coffee in Ethiopia, Kerchanshe Trading has a proud history of providing quality coffees to the local and international markets. Giving due regard to the community and environment, the company has engaged in sustainable organic coffee production and invested considerably in community and environment development projects.
We have received certifications from multiple organisations such as Organic EU, JAS, USDA-NOP, UTZ, Rain forest Alliance, and FAIR TRADE and C.A.F.E which provide very strict monitoring and rules regarding safe and legal chemical use.