The Global Coffee Fund and other ideas discussed at the second WCPF 2019
On 9th and 10th of July, Brazil hosted the second World Coffee Producers Forum in Campinas. This second edition of the event gathered 1,500 visitors, among them coffee producers, experts, industry leaders, officials from civil society organizations, delegates from national governments and international organizations from 30 different countries. The on-going coffee price crisis marked the pace of the agenda along with the sustainability challenges that coffee families currently face. The Forum offered an array of panels and workshops to address these issues and contribute to the current discussion at the global level. GCP’s Executive Director and Chair of the Board participated and hosted panels, however it was an unexpected proposal that put GCP in the spotlight from the very beginning.
The Global Coffee Fund
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, renowned economist, researcher and keynote speaker at the event, presented his most recent paper “Economic and political analysis to improve small coffee growers’ income.” Professor Sachs and his team analyzed the productivity of different countries and proposed a series of actions to raise productivity. One of the ideas that triggered different opinions was the creation of a pre-competitive Global Coffee Fund. Such an initiative would be based on an amount of $10 billion per year and it would be financed by the contributions from the industry ($2.5 billion to get the fund started), donors, governments, and other public and private sector actors. Professor Sachs’s also suggested that the Global Coffee Fund should be administered by a multi-stakeholder initiative, such as the GCP. This concept was vividly discussed by the audience and further feedback has been directed to his team.
During the day GCP reacted to Professor Sachs’ proposal through its social media channels:
Annette Pensel, GCP’s Executive Director confirmed that the recognition of GCP’s neutral multi-stakeholder approach towards achieving coffee sustainability was very important as now more than ever does the sector need such an independent facilitator: “We welcome Professor Sachs’ study and will continue to enable further dialogue with all players in the coffee sector so that feasible, long-term solutions are identified and collectively pursued”.
The imperative need to act now and collectively
GCP’s Executive Director, Annette Pensel, participated as a panelist in the session: “Transparency: From Seed to Cup”. There, GCP showcased concrete cases on how the combination of research and action led the Country Platform in Kenya to identify several gaps in the way coffee is being produced. One of the most important gaps was the presence of operational inefficiencies in cooperatives that hindered the economic viability of farmers (EVoF) in the country.
Thanks to the leadership of the Kenyan Country Platform and its partners, the resulting EVoF study set a common base of understanding of what the country needed, catalyzing discussions to take concrete actions. At the global level, Mrs Pensel also mentioned the way GCP and its members are addressing the coffee price crisis. The “GCP Call to Action” encourages roasters and retailers to report on volumes of sustainable coffee purchased by origin on an annual basis to increase the diversity of sourcing and to communicate sustainability efforts, increasing the transparency throughout the coffee supply chain.
Increasing consumption as an alternative solution
Carlos Brando, Chairman of the GCP Board, participated both as speaker and moderator. During the first day, Mr Brando gave the introductory speech for the panel: “Promote and Increase consumption.” He presented examples of initiatives that have successfully increased consumption in national markets of coffee producing countries, as well as out-of-the-box enterprises currently bringing coffee to new consumer sectors. On the second day of the forum, Mr Brando moderated a workshop on the same topic. Over 100 participants attended this workshop to discuss and propose cross-cutting ideas aimed at benefiting coffee farmers and local coffee businesses.
The second World Coffee Producers Forum was an opportunity for a lively discussion on the most pressing issues in the coffee sector. The Forum provided the perfect platform for the dissemination of innovative actions aimed at tackling the current situation, many of which were reflected in resolutions presented in WCPF’s declaration. The key actions stated by the organizers were:
The Global Coffee Platform will continue representing its members in sustainability events during the year, promoting the ongoing critical need to align our efforts globally and contribute collectively to address the current difficult challenges in coffee farming.
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