Representatives of producer organisations in Brazil and Colombia are driving what could become an international alliance of countries who are seeking urgent action on coffee prices.
Representatives of producer organisations said the response from the rest of the supply chain to the coffee price crisis had been “unsatisfactory,” despite multiple attempts at dialogue with roasters and other parties in the chain.
Earlier this month, Brazil and Colombia released a joint statement in which they described a number of actions they propose to take to address the coffee price crisis. They have already said they want the US to make changes to futures contracts that would reduce volatility that adversely affects coffee farmers.
Brazil and Colombia said they also discussed “the viability and impact” of managing coffee stocks at origin and action on several other fronts, including bringing producers closer to consumers and increasing value at origin, so that the value generated in the coffee supply chain “can be better distributed,” guaranteeing the economic sustainability of producers and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Vanusia Nogueira, the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association’s executive director, one of the driving forces behind Brazil and Colombia coming together and a member of the committee of the World Coffee Producers’ Forum, told that that she is confident that the Campinas meeting will result in agreement with many more producing countries on a range of measures that the producers’ forum hopes will support prices.
“We want to change the coffee sector model a little,” Mrs Nogueira said .“We have already held exploratory talks with other countries and we are optimistic going into the meeting that something concrete will come out of it. We will start work the day after the meeting on putting those changes into effect. I am confident that we will achieve a common position.
“Our goal when we leave Campinas is that we will have an action plan, that we will be able to start some pilot projects that will help address the question of price. There are a number of things we are looking at, including holding more coffee in producing countries, in order to reduce the costs producers incur when their coffee is stored in consuming countries; a certification of origin scheme for coffee that will demonstrate that a roaster paid a fair price; and discussions with ICE about the participation in the coffee market of external actors who increase volatility.”
The producers’ forum also wants to find ways to increase consumption, not just in producing countries as has long been an objective, but in established markets. It also wants to re-establish the ‘connection’ between producers and consumers, such as using social media campaigns to raise awareness and influence purchasing decisions.
Increasing value creation in origin – also a long held objective of coffee producing countries – is also on the menu of items the forum wants to address. “There are several ways we might do this,” Mrs Nogueira said, “ not just by roasting in origin. We believe there are ways we can increase value creation with green coffee too. We have a lot of ideas.”
The Campinas meeting is also expected to see Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the renowned professor of economics and sustainable development expert, release details of a study he has conducted on behalf of producing countries on sustainable development in the coffee sector. Addressing a meeting at the European Commission in June 2019 on Sustainable Development Goals in the coffee sector, Professor Sachs said he believed conglomerates such as JAB and Nestlé need to do more to make coffee sustainable and help farmers.
This article first appeared in www.coffeeandcocoa.net