AFCA 2018: GCP session during sustainability day

More than 200 participants attended the Global Coffee Platform’s session during the sustainability day before the 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition kicked off in Uganda. The event ‘Economic Viability of Coffee Farming and linking it to the functions of National Coffee Platforms’ had interesting outcomes and learnings that will help the coffee sector thrive toward its sustainability journey.

During GCP’s session, Karugu Macharia – from Solidaridad in Kenya – presented the Kenyan Platform, an initiative still in development phase, and explained the challenges that they are facing as well as the solutions the team of supporters to this public-private collaboration effort has found. Tony Mugoya ­–Ugandan Coffee Farmers’ Alliance – showcased the work of the economic viability working group of the Ugandan National Platform by analyzing some interesting results from a study on Gross Margin calculations for coffee farms in the country and how this influences profitability and costs. The event continued with a panel discussion with the presence of Juan Antonio Rivas ­–OLAM­ International & GCP­ Board Member–; Phyllis Warui ­–Coffee Management Services, Kenya–; Tony Mugoya ­–Uganda Coffee Farmers’ Alliance­–; Kajiru Francis Kisenge ­–Tanzanian Coffee Board­– and José Sette ­–Executive Director, International Coffee Association.

The conclusions after the discussions were summarized by Kambale Kisumba Kamungele, Vice Chair of AFCA Chapter DRC and Café Africa DRC, who stressed the need to address low investments in coffee farms by farmers due to low productivity and insufficient training. Additionally, National Platforms should play a central role in addressing alignment on priority issues, concrete solutions, actions and roles. This can greatly contribute to improving the viability of coffee farming in different countries. Therefore, GCP should create opportunities for National Platforms to learn from each other or provide the available information itself on economic viability.

Finally, it is relevant to explore real opportunities for African coffee production and contribute to the rising demand for coffee worldwide. Some African countries are ready to provide an important contribution to the additional coffee need. This is a key message the African Coffee sector could convey during the World Coffee Producers’ Forum to be held in 2019.

The African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) organized its 16th Annual Conference and Exhibition from 14-16 February 2018. This year, the event was co-hosted by the Ugandan Coffee Development Authority (UCDA). One day before the official conference, AFCA together with UTZ/Rainforest organized the sustainability day where several topics were discussed: organizing farmers to scale, research towards sustainability, gender/youth and child labour issues, renovation and rehabilitation of coffee farms.

According to GCP Director of Programs, Rogier Eijkens: “The need for local action in the African context might entail looking at a standard for measuring production costs for coffee production and looking at resources for diversification of coffee farm production”. Furthermore, GCP has the ambition to bring local action on economic viability into a global discussion through the Collective Action Network (CAN) ‘Economic Viability of Farming’, running since 2017.