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Clarence-Smith, William (2003) 'The coffee crisis in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, 1870-1914.' In: Clarence-Smith, William and Topik, Steven, (eds.), The global coffee economy in Africa, Asian and Latin America, 1500-1989. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 100-119.

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The success of New World coffee producers in the late nineteenth century has spawned a large body of writings, whereas stagnation and decline in Asia and Africa have attracted few scholars. Statistics for the early nineteenth century are rare and unreliable, but they suggest that Asia and Africa's share of global coffee exports amounted to around a third in the 1830s. This proportion remained roughly the same in the 1860s and 1870s. However, it then rapidly dwindled to around a twentieth by 1913. Within this broad evolution, there was an additional contrast. Asia was subject to a particularly sharp fall, whereas Africa's small share of the world market remained fairly constant in relative terms. When the focus is further narrowed to particular countries or regions within large and diverse countries such as Indonesia and India, outcomes were even more diverse. This chapter explores both the reasons for the overall downward trend in Africa and Asia's share of world coffee exports and the causes of the extraordinarily uneven nature of that decline. The evolution of world production took place against a background of increasing volatility in the real price of coffee. The world price rose fairly steadily from the late 1840s to reach a peak in the first half of the 1870s, making coffee the “wonder crop” of tropical farmers around the globe.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of History
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISBN: 9780521818513
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2007 13:17

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