Climate change, capacity building and organisational development were key themes of the Second African Coffee Sustainability Forum, launched on 15 February in Addis Ababa Ato Fikru Amenu, Deputy Director in the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture launched the forum titled “Creating market access through sustainable practices”. Over 130 participants took part in the event organised by the 4C Association and the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA), following last year’s meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. “The Forum is becoming the annual must attend event for all those concerned about sustainability in the African coffee sector,” says Melanie Rutten-Sülz, Executive Director of the 4C Association.”It is the participants who make the Forum such a dynamic and collaborative space by bringing the issues to the table and working together to address them. The 4C Association is proud of facilitating this exchange with its member and partner EAFCA.” Attendees included representatives from producer organisations, members of trade and industry, academia, sustainability standards, NGOs, financial institutions, public sector entities and development cooperation agencies. In addition to those active in the African coffee sector, there was also an important presence of delegates from other regions, most notably Brazil. The aim was to present experiences from other countries and regions in order to increase cross-border and inter-regional cooperation.
“It was inspiring to see all these people sharing their knowledge and putting their ideas together to build a more sustainable African coffee sector,” says Samuel N. Kamau, Executive Director of EAFCA. “Issues such as climate change or quality and productivity cannot be addressed by only a few companies or organisations. There is an increasing understanding that cooperation among all the actors is needed to find long-lasting solutions to these problems.” The Forum was sponsored and supported by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and 4C Members Nestlé, Tchibo and Kraft Foods in the framework of the IDH Coffee Program, currently in its final stage of development. “For IDH, the Sustainability Forum represents a unique opportunity to engage with local stakeholders in preparation for the upcoming IDH Coffee Program,” says Ted van der Put, IDH Program Director. “We very much appreciate that the Forum focused on the challenges that producers face when scaling up production of sustainable coffee. We will continue to engage in this kind of exchange platforms in the future and will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the 4C Association as a coffee sector platform.”