In a time of downward global prices on the commodities market, the second World Coffee Producers Forum took place last week in Campinas, Brazil.
Since its inception in 2017 to today, the forum has maintained a focus on the prosperity and wellbeing of the world’s coffee-producing countries and particularly the many millions of smallholder farmers and small producer organizations that prop up the entire sector with their ingenuity and labor.
Despite the prosperity that has been enjoyed over the past two years in the coffee sectors of most traditional consuming countries, coffee producers — and smallholder farmers in particular — have experienced dramatically depressed global prices.
Thus, this year’s forum involved some radical new ideas designed to ensure that coffee farmers are able to meet their costs of production, including a call from renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs for a global relief fund to help offset downward price spikes, and a call from Colombia’s Coffee Grower’s Federation (FNC) CEO Roberto Vélez for a $2 per pound FOB base price for all export coffees.
Of course, carrying out such sweeping initiatives would require the active participation of many of the world’s largest buyers of green coffee, those very actors who have benefited most from a neocolonial trading system that imposes the most risk upon farmers at the other end of the chain.
In addition to the ideas presented above, the final declaration signed by members of the nonprofit World Coffee Producers forum includes the following action items: to promote new technologies for producers to commercialize coffee; to stimulate consumption, especially in producing countries and emerging markets; to develop mechanisms to promote price and data transparency throughout the coffee chain; and to develop strategies for producers to capture more of coffee’s value through the chain, such as a “roasted by origin” seal.
The third World Coffee Producers forum will take place in 2021. Here is the final declaration from this year’s forum in full:
In the city of Campinas, Brazil, on July 10 and 11, 2019, the second forum of coffee-producing countries was held, and considering:
- That the first Forum raised worldwide awareness to the need for economic sustainability in global coffee supply. However, there has not been effective engagement from the other sectors in the coffee value chain to improve coffee producers’ remuneration.
- That research by professor Jeffery Sachs from Columbia University highlighted the need for interaction among all agents in the value chain for the development of global actions in addition to those already carried out in each country, with co-responsibility of all public and private agents in the coffee trade to guarantee the implementation of sustainability in its economic, environmental and social dimensions.
- The opportunity for development of new technologies to improve the traditional forms of commercializing coffee, bringing producers and consumers closer and aggregating value to origins.
- The importance in stimulating global coffee consumption, especially in producing countries and emerging markets, to guarantee balance between supply and demand and, consequently, remunerative prices to coffee producers.
- To promote the creation of a technological platform to aggregate and make available information and numbers to all segments of the coffee value chain, in a manner that creates transparency in business and price formulation.
- To develop a mechanism that facilitates the availability of information from producing origins through traceability of offered products and their specificities to end consumers.
- To promote the training of producers through technical assistance and rural extension for the professionalization in property management and the acquisition of knowledge about market risks.
- To stimulate the development of innovative strategies and campaigns to promote coffee consumption, mainly in producing countries and emerging markets.
- To develop mechanisms, marketing strategies and technological innovations that enable achieving remunerative prices for producers, such as “economic sustainability” and “roasted by origin” seals.
- To encourage each producer origin, at public and private levels, to develop national plans for sustainability for the coffee sector.
- That the WCPF Committee will move forward with creating a legal entity to plan and execute on the strategies in this declaration.
- The next World Coffee Producers Forum shall be held in 2021. The committee shall coordinate with the countries which city shall hold the next event.
This declaration was made in Campinas on 11 July 2019.