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Summary of the 6th African Coffee Symposium

The 6th African Coffee Symposium was held on 26 and 27 November 2018, during the 2018 Annual Meetings of the Inter-African Coffee Organisation, at NOMAD Hotel Libreville, in Gabon, under the Chairmanship of Honorable Jean-Marie OGANDANGA, Minister for Planning and Economic Development, representing the Prime Minister, Head of the Government of the Republic of Gabon.
The following Member States were represented: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
Under the theme : "Organisation of the Coffee Sector in Africa for Sustainable and Inclusive Development," the Symposium was composed of four (4) Panels:
- African Coffee Supply Management Against Price Volatility;
- Integrated Processing at the Origin: Factors of Growth and Creation of Wealth;
- African Coffee Sector and the Challenge of Climate Change; and
- The African Continental Free Trade Area and its Implications on the African Coffee Value Chain.
Progress of the Symposium:
Panel 1: African Coffee Supply Management Against Price Volatility
Under the moderation of Dr. Enselme GOUTHON, Secretary General of CCFCC Togo, the presentations made by Dr. Denis SEUDIEU (ICO) and Mr. Michael NDOPING (NCCB-Cameroon), focused on the internal factors of the price volatility that make consumption lower than production, external factors such as speculation that put pressure on coffee prices and the state of production in Africa.
Presentations were made by Panelists on the following:
• Coffee price trends ;
• Causes of price volatility ;
• Supply and quality management ;
• Stocks Control ; and
• Difficulties of local markets related to regulation.
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The following recommendations were made after discussions :
• Promote diversification through projects such as Café Gourmet ;
• Encourage the positioning of a better quality Coffee on the market ;
• Promote domestic marketing and consumption ;
• Encourage policies to support Research for more efficient production ;
• Encourage countries to maintain an up-to-date database of coffee farms ;
• Promote capacity building for small producers ;
• Support programmes dedicated to the promotion of African coffees ;
• Encourage Member States to pool their efforts in improving the African coffee value chain ;
• Identify and promote coffee by-products for larger local consumption ;
• Encourage the private sector to develop roasting ;
• Encourage IACO to create an enabling environment for coffee consumption by informing health institutions about the effects of coffee on health ; and
• Encourage Member States to master statistics on coffee consumption and to implement marketing strategies based on these statistics.
Panel 2: Integrated Processing at the Origin: Factors of Growth and Creation of Wealth
As Moderator, Dr. Koffi NGORAN (Deputy Director of the Coffee-Cacao Council of Côte d'Ivoire), Mrs. Kathleen DAHIR (Roaster, Café Pierre André, Gabon), Dr. Denis SEUDIEU (OIC) and Mr. Michael OWUSU-MANU (GHANA COCOBOD) as panelists, shared their experience with several participants in coffee processing for growth and creation of wealth. The presentations which focused on the constraints relating to local processing and/or challenges of the sector, are summarised in the following recommendations :
• Help IACO to further support the training of local roasters ;
• Convince authorities of the importance of the coffee in international trade through objective data ;
• Make available to member countries all studies available at IACO ;
• Encourage more and more public authorities to finance Research in coffee sector ;
• Encourage governments and organisations like IACO to play their full regulatory role in the African coffee sector ;
• Encourage governments to establish a favorable trade policy for local processing ; and
• Boost an African dynamic within the framework of the inter-African exchanges.
Panel 3: African Coffee Sector and the Challenge of Climate Change
This panel was moderated by Dr. Morris AKIRI (CABI). The two presentations made by Dr. Charles AGWANDA (CABI) and Dr. Kokou Edoh ADABE (ITRA/CRAF-TOGO) as panelists dwelt on the impact of climate change on the African coffee sector and the results of observations made specifically in Togo. At the end of the presentations, the following is a summary of discussions between panelists and participants:
• Develop drought tolerant varieties ;
• Introduce resistant / tolerant varieties to diseases and pests ;
• Ensure better management of pests and diseases ;
• Promote integrated production systems ;
• Introduce alternative crops to make the agricultural production of families sustainable ;
• Allow producers to have access to information ;
• Selection of short-cycle high-performance varieties ;
• Selection of resistant / tolerant disease and pest varieties ;
• The development of customised farming techniques ;
• Identification of sustainable funding strategies for Research,
• Research must involve the entire coffee value chain ;
• Advocate for customised Research, that is, specific to the realities of each country and encourage experience-sharing between Researchers from different countries ; and
• Member States should allocate substantial budgets for coffee Research to better adapt our agriculture to the adverse effects of climate change.
Panel 4: The African Continental Free Trade Area and its Implications on the African Coffee Value Chain
Under the moderation of H.E. Amb. Josefa SACKO (African Union) and Mr. Michael NDOPING (NCCB-Cameroon), Dr. Frederick KAWUMA, IACO Secretary General and Pr. NKOULOU NKOULOU Jean-Louis of the Omar Bongo University of Gabon as panelists, the presentations focused on the definition of the Continental Free Trade Area, its objectives, its impacts on the African coffee value chain, and also on factors that limit its benefits.
Subsequent to the various interventions, the following recommendations were made:
• Encourage Member States to develop strategies to regulate the informal coffee sector ;
• Develop a synergistic approach between Member States to better integrate the CFTA in coffee matters ;
• Develop strategies to improve coffee quality ;
• Encourage Member States to shift State instruments towards market economies;
• Encourage Member States to create positive externalities for the African coffee sector ;
• Promote the private sector in the coffee value chain ;
• Implement strategic trade policies in Member States ;
• Encourage Member States to promote public and private partnerships ;
• Promote Producer/Consumer partnerships for coffee processing ;
• Encourage Member States to pay attention to tariff barriers and competitiveness in order to make the CFTA conducive for the coffee sector;
• Invite IACO to encourage Member States to improve New Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate the business environment ; and
• Invite IACO to develop strategies for the implementation of the CFTA.
➢ IACO is requested to devise a monitoring mechanism to follow-up on the above recommendations ;
➢ Report adopted subject to any additional contributions.
Conclusion :
The discussions in the various panels allowed participants to better understand the themes developed. The main theme for the 7th Symposium and the different panels, which is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2019, will be communicated later.