World Coffee Producers Forum Update “Most anticipated event for the coffee industry in 2017”

By Rachel Northrop

June 5, 2017

World Coffee Producers Forum is the Most Anticipated Event for the Coffee Industry in 2017 In just over a month the coffee industry will convene for the most anticipated event of the year: the first annual World Coffee Producers Forum.

This global gathering will take place in Medellin, Colombia July 10-12 and the speakers, panelists, and moderators represent the coffee industry's most innovative minds from across continents and sectors of the supply chain.

The focuses of the forum are on adapting to climate change, strengthening rural economies, and planning for long term strength of an industry rooted in smallholder agriculture. Keynote speaker Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University's Center for Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute will set the tone by addressing coffee’s place the global economics of world agriculture

influenced by a shifting climate.

The first panel, moderated by Fred Kawuma, Secretary General of the Inter African Coffee Organization, will tackle Economic Sustainability of the Coffee Producer. Experts speaking to solutions for challenges of increasing incomes to farmers who are the first affected by climate change include Annette Pensel, Executive Director of the precompetitive Global Coffee Platform, which recently designed a new farmer-centric framework with the Sustainable Coffee Platform, and Chris von Zastrow, Director of Coffee Sustainability for Starbucks.

The second panel, moderated by Ronald Peters, Executive Director of Costa Rica’s ICAFE, will discuss Rural Development and Socioeconomic Indicators of the Coffee World. Sharing innovations in food and agricultural policy and rural economies will be panelists representing the World Bank, Latin America’s Promecafe, African Fine Coffees Association, and Conservation International.

The final panel, moderated by Chief Technical Officer of Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers, Hernando Duque, tackles Adaptation to Climate Change in Coffee Production. Experts addressing changing temperature and weather conditions are Corey Watts, whose recent report “A Brewing Storm, The Climate Change Risks to Coffee” examines the pressure climate change exerts on already vulnerable producers, representatives of Brazil and Madagascar producers’ organizations, and the head of green coffee development for Nestle.

The presence of influential decision makers from both producer advocacy groups, private roaster-retailer companies, intergovernmental agencies, and research institutions indicates the intense level of collaboration taking place between all members of the coffee supply chain to advocate for increased co-responsibility, where all stakeholders are aware of the challenges facing others at different points along the chain so that long term planning accounts for the health of the entire industry, not just the immediate interests of one sector.

During the lunch session, Dr. Andrea Illy, chairman of Illy cafe, SpA, will propose a Global Arabica Plan (GAP) that intends to respond to climate’s effect on coffee by changing agronomical practices, developing new resistant cultivars, and migrating production areas.

The World Coffee Producers Forum promises to be an invaluable opportunity to take conversations that have been happening at the local level across the coffee growing world and channel them into cohesive actions that will take proactive steps to strengthen coffee production in the new global climate reality.

-Rachel Northrop . Specialty Coffee Magazine.

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Photo Credit: Landon Yost
RACHEL NORTHROP is a contributor for Specialty Coffee Magazine. Her articles focus on agriculture, environmental and economic sustainability at origin, emerging US roasters and retailers, and the personal narratives of people involved at all points along the supply chain. She began researching coffee production in 2012 for the book When Coffee Speaks: Stories from and of Latin American Coffeepeople. She works as the Northeast US & Canada rep for Ally Coffee’s specialty division. Read more at whencoffeespeaks.com.

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