Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwandan minister of agriculture, said Monday that there is a need for all stakeholders in the coffee industry to ensure decent living for millions of coffee farmers worldwide.
The minister made the remarks during the opening of the third World Coffee Producers Forum (WCPF) at the Kigali Convention Center in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Feb. 13-14.
“It is imperative that we secure increased revenues and enhance welfare for coffee producers. The sustainability of the coffee industry does require that coffee producers and those at the bottom level enjoy shared prosperity,” she said.
Mukeshimana called on all key actors in the coffee sector value chain to recognize the role played by coffee producers in guaranteeing the sustainability of the industry and its long-term viability.
She shared Rwanda’s example, saying the East African country promotes the coffee industry through the delivery of better inputs, replanting coffee trees, enhancing cooperative governance and management procedures as well as fostering public-private cooperation among stakeholders with expanded coffee washing stations.
She also stressed the importance of capacity building in improving the skill set of coffee farmers and in raising their coffee production standards.
More than 1,000 regional and international participants, from over 40 coffee-producing countries across the globe are attending the two-day event.
Hailemariam Desalegn, the former Ethiopian prime minister, noted that through all the stages of coffee production, from farm to cup, concerted efforts must be made to ensure poverty alleviation and food security are achieved while ensuring sustainable agriculture as well as mitigation of climate change.
“The sustainability of the coffee value chain is impossible if coffee incomes are not sustainable. Farmers must benefit from their work before anyone else,” he said, calling for the creation of the necessary transformations that allow coffee farmers to earn a good income from their produce.
“In the context of the challenge of sustainability feeding, a world population is anticipated to be 10 billion in 2050, and sustainability growing of coffee and making the most of it are considered particularly crucial for our coffee farmers’ future,” he added.
Juan Esteban Orduz, the chair of the World Coffee Producers Forum, said farmers’ prosperity must be at the center of any policy actions. “Coffee value chain needs to work together under the principles of co-responsibility and solidarity to ensure sustainable coffee production,” said Orduz.
The WCPF was born in 2017 to bring together coffee producers from across the globe and provide a unique space to gather and discuss critical issues of common concern to growers, including sustainability, climate change, the environment, and prosperity.
The 3rd meeting of the World Coffee Producers Forum in Rwanda follows the previous ones in Medellin, Colombia in 2017, and in Campinas, Brazil in 2019