Yaounde-Cameroon: The 2nd Scientific Conference on African Coffee
The Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO) held its 56th Annual General Assembly in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon on November 28 to December 3rd 2016. The theme of the symposium was “Inclusive Value Chain Transformation in African Coffee Industry”. Under the chairmanship of Cameroon’s Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maigari, who stood in for the Prime Minister, it was attended by twenty-two of the twenty-five member countries.
While addressing participants, the chairman called on them to pave a way for “a sustainable and profitable coffee industry in their respective countries”. He also shared with participants Cameroon’s cocoa and coffee development which aims to modernize the coffee industry in Cameroon. To lay emphasis on this, the Managing Director of Cameroon’s National Cocoa and Coffee Board, NCCB, said quality production and marketing of coffee will have a great impact on community development. To him, a public-private partnership platform should be put in place whereby its agenda will be the transformation of the coffee industry in the respective producing countries.
Cameroon’s minister of trade who also doubled as the chairman of the IACO chipped in that a strategy should be put in place to facilitate a “niche market access” for coffee grown in Africa so as to “reposition African coffee in the world market”.
According to the Executive Secretary of the IACO, Frederick KAWUMA, the platform needs to look for lasting solutions to the concerns in the industry like poor yield and productivity, reduced market penetration, ageing labour, limited funding and limited access to production inputs.
The researchers raised some concerns regarding the incoherence of research programmes on coffee in Africa, land problems in the rural areas where majority of coffee production takes place and the other factors that were raised by Mr Kawuma.
The discussion was based on:
– Best strategies to increase productivity, production and quality of Arabica coffee in East Africa;
– Achievements of agricultural research for sustainable coffee cultivation in West and Central Africa.
At the end of the conference, some resolutions were brought forward: the creation of a committee that will give out information and come up with projects, this committee known as the Focal Point will also organize videoconferencing at the end of each quarter, lobby for funding in order to finance projects, the creation of a five-man team that will serve as a contact group from the various producing regions and also giving regular updates on the objectives in line with the needs of the member countries.
The IACO is an intergovernmental organisation with aim to assists member countries to improve negotiations, provide sustainable and fair prices to small scale coffee farmers in the coffee industry. It was created on December 11, 1960 by 11 African coffee producing countries.
The meeting saw the participation of Cameroon’s Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Magloire Mbarga Atangana, Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Kibanzanga Christopher, the executive director of the International Coffee Organisation, (ICO), the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Robério Oliveira Silva, with other representatives from the l’Agence des Cafés Robusta d’Afrique et de Madagascar (ACRAM), Café Africa, and finance and development institutions like AGRIMONEY, AFREXIMBANK, Fast International and, Global Crop Diversity.
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