The first ever World Coffee Producers Forum, held 10–12th July 2017, was a historic moment for the coffee industry. As we work towards a more equitable supply chain, hearing the voices of producers and tackling their concerns is crucial.
Ministers and Secretaries of Agriculture from different countries discuss the issues facing the coffee industry.
The three-day event included presentations, workshops, and more, all centred around improving coffee production, processing, and prices. Key themes included sustainability, – as Mr Jose Sette, Executive Director of the ICO, said during the opening ceremony, “The most important challenge we face is how to make the world coffee sector more
sustainable” – coffee prices, and financing.
At the end of the event, the Forum published a set of resolutions. We have translated them from Spanish into English, and include them here:
World Coffee Producers Forum Resolutions
1. To work jointly with all the agents of the coffee global chain, and with the support of the ICO, in designing an Action Plan that will look at the root problems that face female coffee farmers in the diverse regions of the world, namely: very low prices for producers, excessive volatility, and the largest fraction of the value of the coffee supply chain being held by other agents; adapting to climate change; labour shortages and difficulty in generational replacement; and the precarious social conditions of producers.
2. The Action Plan must define the goals, time limit, and required financing.
3. How responsibility is shared should be managed at the highest level, among industry representatives and donors, and with the international cooperation of multilateral organisations, national government, and local government. This will be with the aim of progressing the Action Plan and obtaining the financial resources to execute it.
4. The Action Plan will begin, based on input from the World Coffee Producers Forum, with a study. This study will be developed with an independent entity that will analyse the behaviour of coffee prices over the last 40 years, the production cost behaviour in that same period, and the correlation between them. The study will analyse if the international contributions of coffee, both of the New York and London stock exchanges, reflect the reality of physical market, and give alternative solutions to outlined issues in the Forum.
5. A committee will be created to define the actions that should follow this study. It will be comprised of two agents from producers’ associations in Africa; two from Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; two from South America; two from Asia; and at least one industry agent from each one of the following regions: North America, Europe, and Asia.
6. The Committee must present a progress report at an ICO meeting in March 2018.
7. The next World Coffee Producers Forum will be held in 2019. The committee will coordinate with the [various] countries to determine the location of the next forum.
Panel with the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and Bill Clinton, the 42nd US President.
Production & Productivity
1. Improve productivity through technology and crop nutrition. Improve technology exchange, technical support, and the sharing of experiences.
2. Create a commission with the purpose of initiating the Action Plan created by the World Coffee Producers Forum, with initiatives supported by information gathered collaboratively from different actors in the supply chain.
3. Collaborative research among producing countries with the aim of genetic and technological improvements.
4. Increase internal consumption in producing countries.
5. Improve rural education with a focus on business and entrepreneurship.
6. Create public policies in producing countries aimed at: financing, the environment, rural social security, education, and infrastructure.
7. Increase connectivity and access to new knowledge, technology,and scientific development.
8. Promote coffee quality.
9. Decrease the cost of production.
1. Create methods for the strengthening of scientific research, promotion of education, exchange of good practices, and management of resources to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
2. Establish public policies for environmental control in the coffee value chain, with three areas of focus: i) decrease water consumption in production, ii) reforestation, and iii) access to renewable energies.
3. Generating actions to preserve, conserve, and manage water.
This panel discussed ways of developing the economic sustainability of coffee growers.
Generational Replenishment of Labour Force
1. Promote relevant, high-quality education from early childhood to higher education for coffee-producing communities, with programmes focused on entrepreneurship and business development. Recognise the importance of the role of the coffee-producing family in transmitting culture and knowledge to their children, so as to support and achieve the permanence of the coffee vocation.
2. Create a methodology that will enable all producing countries to share experiences and good practices, replicate successful models, and generate interaction among young coffee leaders, so as to face global challenges in an organised way.
3. Consolidate public-private alliances that facilitate the leveraging of the productivity and profitability of business, and also prioritise the needs of young coffee farmers, such as education, access to land, production factors, and working capital.
4. Create public policies for rural development that respond to the challenges of the connection across different generations of coffee growers.
1. Consolidate the efforts of the ICO in the interests of producing countries to achieve income improvements and remunerative prices for producers.
2. Promote the increase of coffee consumption in current and new markets.
3. An independent review from the ICO of prices and costs that will serve as input for the promotion of remunerative policies for producers.
4. Define coffee prices or transaction mechanisms that adequately incorporate the reality of different types of coffee, disconnecting it from the dynamics of financial markets and tying it to the reality of the marketing chain and coffee costs.
5. Approach commercial and development banking options to find better financing alternatives, alternative uses of coffee, crop insurance, and tools that add value to producers.
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