The signing by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) of the International Coffee Agreement must be a cause for celebration at the ICO. After a difficult year with the acrimonious withdrawal by Uganda from the agreement, this important deal with the world’s second-largest producer of Arabica shows that the organisation is still relevant.
It may well also signify an endorsement of the more inclusive strategy, which no longer limits the discussions with producers but includes other players in the value chain.
As Uganda deals with the crisis over corruption allegations surrounding the unpopular monopoly offered to the Italian businesswoman in charge of the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company, their decision to leave the ICO is starting to look all the more ill-advised.
If the ICO can now bring the US back into the agreement, it will strongly endorse its strategy.
- The FNC CEO signed the agreement that will govern the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in a ceremony accompanied by the country’s Minister of Finance, José Antonio Ocampo, who highlighted the formal involvement of the private sector in the industry.
- The agreement formally welcomes, for the first time in 60 years, the world’s largest private coffee marketers, roasters, and manufacturers, along with coffee farmers and their governments, Ocampo noted.
- “The objective of the agreement is to find new ways to improve conditions in the coffee sector worldwide and provide a livelihood for millions of people around the world,” said Iván Romero-Martínez, president of the International Coffee Council (ICC), the ICO’s highest governing body.
- The agreement strengthens the structure of the organization, with a more active and committed participation of private actors, with a view to achieving a more sustainable global coffee industry for the entire chain, where coffee growers are the first link.
Bogotá, October 7, 2022 (FNC Press Office) – On behalf of Colombia and the country’s over 540,000 coffee grower families, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation CEO, Roberto Vélez, signed today the International Coffee Agreement of Bogotá 2022.
The ceremony took place with Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit, José Antonio Ocampo, as a witness, and was presided over by Iván Romero-Martínez, president of the International Coffee Council (ICC, the organization’s highest authority), and the executive director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Vanusia Nogueira.
The new agreement strengthens the ICO with a more active and committed participation of private actors, with a view to achieving a more sustainable global industry for the entire chain, starting with producers.
The objective of the agreement is to find new ways for the conditions of the coffee sector worldwide to improve and provide a livelihood for millions of people around the worldRomero-Martínez, President of the International Coffee Council
The Honduran executive explained that, without losing the ICO’s intergovernmental character, private actors in the coffee supply chain will have a more active role, including the public-private operating group to work together in favor of the industry’s sustainability, where coffee growers are the first link.
In his speech, Ocampo highlighted that the agreement formally welcomes to the table, for the first time in 60 years, the world’s largest private coffee marketers, roasters, and manufacturers, along with coffee farmers and their Governments.
In addition, he called on the Government of the USA, the largest coffee consumer, “to reconsider the decision it took in 2017 to withdraw from the ICO for re-entering this public-private dialogue forum aimed at overcoming poverty in rural areas of the world.”
The private sector advisory board will be transformed into the affiliate members’ board under a new institutional framework, bringing in non-governmental members for the first time since 1963, when the ICO was created under UN auspices.
The Bogotá 2022 agreement also redefines the internal system for calculating votes and the members’ contributions to better respond to transformations of the global coffee chain in the last 30 years, also for the benefit of the organization’s financial sustainability.
For the second time in the ICO’s history, Colombia hosted its annual meeting (134th). And on behalf of the Colombian coffee families, the FNC said it was honored not only to have been the host, but also to have substantially contributed to the signing of the new agreement.
The signing of the International Coffee Agreement of Bogotá 2022 shall be the opportunity to work together for the sustainability and well-being of the coffee value chain.
Let’s do our best to support this new administration, to give life to this new agreement, in such a way that it becomes the tool that we all expect, of cooperation and collaboration of the entire coffee value chain. (…) In the end, the answer lies within each and every one of us.Roberto Vélez, CEO, Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)
After the meeting, the Minister of Finance and the FNC CEO toured the Cafés de Colombia Expo 2022, the most important specialty coffee fair in Latin America and the Caribbean, where they had the opportunity to talk with coffee growers from different regions of the country.