Lack of female participation restraining aggregation among coffee farmers: ICO

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) released, on 17 December, the proceedings of the 3rd Consultative Forum on Coffee Sector Finance, as part of its semi-annual meetings. The Forum took place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on 10 September 2013 during the 50th anniversary meetings of the ICO. At the event, deleguates discussed aggregation, with the objective to identify best practices and disseminate information about farmer aggregation as a platform through which access to finance and risk management can be achieved more effectively, the ICO said in a statement. The ICO noted that this forum used an innovative methodology which involved 22 experts working with small groups to consider seven case studies on different aspects of aggregation, as well as a brainstorming session which identified almost 200 driving and restraining forces which could impact on farmer aggregation. The priority driving forces included creating economic incentives for organising farmers such as identifying a common buyer, examples of successful cooperatives and enhancing the administrative capacity of farmer organizations to improve their capabilities. Restraining forces included the lack of female participation, lack of education about cooperatives, poor legal frameworks and corruption, and risk aversion and risk management. Participants noted that if programmes could be developed to strengthen the driving forces and weaken the restraining forces, this could facilitate the development of farmer organizations. The Forum was facilitated by Robert Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Coffee Association of USA (NCA) and received sponsorship from the All Japan Coffee Association (AJCA) and the World Bank. Presentations were made by three experts on the state of farmer aggregation and the basic principles of cooperative development including Alex Serrano, Vice President, Program and Business Development, National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International; Dan Zook, Citi/Skoll project leader, Dalberg, Global Development Advisors; and Lakshmi Venkatachalam, Vice President, Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations, Asian Development Bank (ADB). The proceedings of the Forum will be reviewed by the International Coffee Council during its 112th Session from 3 – 7 March 2014.

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