India’s opportunity to host the 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC), the first in Asia will firmly lodge the country in the international coffee markets, said Vanúsia Nogueira, Executive Director, International Coffee Organization. ICO is a London-based body set up under the aegis of the United Nations to highlight the economic importance of coffee.
Held between September 25 and 28, the conference in Bengaluru brought together roasters, exporters, blenders, cafe chain owners, growers, and manufacturers of coffee processing and coffee making machinery/equipment, start-ups and funders.
More than 350 experts from 80 coffee growing and consuming countries participated at the conference. “The majority of whom are first time visitors to India as buyers or business explorers, and they are extremely impressed with the kind of professionalism that India has in managing and growing its coffee industry,’‘ Ms. Nogueira told The Hindu.
ICO’s focus on multi-layers of sustainability
This year’s WCC theme was ‘‘Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture’‘. Although “economic sustainability” was discussed way back in 1962, “social sustainability” has gathered multiple layers to include livelihood, farmers living conditions, environmental issues, child labour, women issues, human and labour rights and deforestation, said Ms. Nogueira. She said laws around child labour in the coffee growing sector varied across countries.
“Child labour at family-own plantations is a matter of discussion, especially when children also work in family run coffee plantations. In Brazil, child labour is strictly prohibited,” added Ms. Nogueira, who comes from a family of coffee producers in Brazil.
‘India takes coffee seriously’
Ms. Nogueira noted that the India’s coffee varietals, the cupping quality, a growing domestics market, industry’s commitment and active involvement from the government in expanding the sector, was much appreciated by WCC participants.
``Coffee may not be a huge product for the Indian economy, even for Brazil it is only 2% but we take coffee very seriously. So, it is not a matter of size, it is a matter of mindset and India has taken coffee seriously and the global coffee community is aware of it now,’‘ said Nogueira, who is the first woman to head the global coffee body.
India produced some 4,00,000 tonnes of coffee in 2022-23, contributing 3% to the global output. The country is the seventh largest coffee producer following Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Honduras.