Frequently Asked Questions

How did the ICO come into existence ?

The ICO was established in 1963 at a conference convened by the United Nations in response to fluctuations in prices and supply and demand from the 1930s to the 1960s. During the period of severe economic depression in the 1930s and during the Second World War supply increased, demand fell and prices were low. In the immediate post-war years, however, demand increased and supplies were inadequate to satisfy this rising demand. Between 1950 and 1953, stock levels were below the minimum needs for normal trading purposes, a situation which was exacerbated by the outbreak of the Korean War and adverse climate in Brazil. Prices rose to unprecedented heights in 1953. This gave rise to a substantial increase in planting throughout the world and over-production followed. Stocks increased and, in the second half of the 1950s and the early 1960s, prices fell drastically. This led to an intergovernmental initiative to attempt to stabilise the market and to halt the fall in prices, which had serious economic and political consequences for a large number of coffee producing countries in Latin America and Africa. Following a series of short-term Agreements among producing countries, a Coffee Study Group was formed to consider the negotiation of an Agreement to include both exporting and importing countries, culminating in the International Coffee Agreement 1962.

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