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African Coffee Magazine-49

Dear readers,

The 2016 IACO Annual Meetings held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, made key decisions, from the discussions that took place in the different meetings, held under the theme: inclusive transformation in African Coffee value chain. In its 60 years of existence, the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) has played a very important role in African coffee industry in dealing with issues of research, production, and market access for the benefit of the small-holder farmers and the economies of

the Member States. The issue of market access particularly took centre-stage during the period of administration of the coffee quota system. Since then, with regard to market access, the organisation has played more of an advocacy role as well as international coffee diplomacy. In the early to mid-1990s, IACO worked to set up the African Coffee Research Network (ACRN) to specifically address coffee research coordination and coffee production issues. More recently, a new initiative that has been brought on board is the launching of the African Coffee Scientific Conferences. These are aimed at bringing together coffee researchers from Africa and other coffee producing

regions to present papers on topical issues affecting the coffee research community, and provide

a forum for discussion primarily focusing on challenges in the African coffee industry. IACO would also like to tackle issues such as climate change, breeding for resilience to adverse weather, resistance to pests and diseases, and to increase yields. In addition, access to inputs, how to increase research coverage and research impact at the farm level, high logistical costs

and the effects of policy and regulatory frameworks on coffee research in Africa. The other important event, initiated by the Secretary General upon taking up office in 2013, is the African Coffee Symposium, where four annual editions have been held so far. At the most recent one, held in

Yaoundé, Cameroon, it was agreed to give high priority to public-private partnerships, to increase youth involvement in the coffee value chain and to increase support to women in the coffee industry through policy incentives and the removal of the multiple obstacles they face, so as to boost production as well as consumption. It was also resolved to proactively involve the responsible officials from key ministries of the Member States, in the various IACO gatherings. In line

with this strategy, the 2016 Annual Meetings resolved to open up IACO membership to African consuming (but non-producing) countries, and to amend the IACO Agreement so as to admit these countries as members of the Organization. With the involvement of all African policy stakeholder,

the proposals made at the Scientific Conferences and the Symposiums will continue to be presented