This commentary, written by Jason Potts, Coordinator of the Sustainable Commodity Initiative, examines the current crisis in the coffee market and the implications for the millions of rural households who depend on coffee income for their livelihoods. "In Burundi, 80 per cent of foreign earnings are derived from coffee exports. In Ethiopia coffee represents 67 per cent of foreign revenue earnings," writes Potts. Currently, the world market price for coffee is the lowest in 70 years. The International Coffee Organization was established to enable stabilization and protection of international coffee prices. The efforts of the ICO are, however, undermined by the absence of two important coffee consuming countries: Canada and the United States.