The official inauguration ceremony of the 121st International Coffee Council, the governing body of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), was held in Mexico City on 9 April.
Officially launched by the Sub-Secretary Jorge Armando Narváez Narváez, this is the first time the Council has met in Mexico, a country that is in the forefront in the process of modernising its coffee sector.
The meeting is the first since the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the International Coffee Agreement, effective on 3 June, 2018.
In his speech, the Sub-Secretary extended a warm welcome to participants and stressed the importance of regional and international cooperation for the Government of Mexico. “It is important to always work hand in hand with the producers, and the small producers in particular, as well as with all stakeholders in the coffee value chain to improve the quality of life of producers and to take care of the environment,” he said.
The Chair of the Council, Ambassador Aly Touré of Côte d’Ivoire, formally thanked the host country for its hospitality and welcomed attendees to what was his first Council Session serving as the newly appointed Chair.
“Coffee is a growth market, providing economic benefits at each step of the global coffee chain from growers to consumers,” Aly said. “As a global coffee community, the International Coffee Organization and its Members had an extremely important task to work together, alongside international organizations and the private sector, to address the challenges facing the coffee sector.”
The Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization, José Sette, said Mexico was “an appropriate setting” to reflect on the changing world of coffee, especially with regard to coffee-producing countries.
“Mexico is no longer just an exporter of Mild Arabicas in bean form, the country is now a regional export hub for soluble coffee,” he said.
José added that imports of coffee have become increasingly important in Mexico in recent years.
“In the domestic market, although per capita coffee consumption is still relatively low, a vibrant specialty coffee scene is emerging and prospects for increased consumption are bright,” he said. “For this reason, Mexico is an interesting example of how the traditional exporter/importer and producer/consumer dichotomies is becoming increasingly blurred. Above all, Mexico is an example of the social importance of coffee as a generator of employment and income in rural areas.”
The International Coffee Council and associated meetings, taking place from 9 to 13 April 2018 at the Hilton Reforma Hotel in Mexico City, was organised in collaboration with the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, a unit of the Federal Executive Branch of the Government of Mexico.
The week-long event brought together more than 200 delegates from more than 30 countries from across the globe, to debate a number of issues of crucial importance to today’s global coffee sector.
Along with dissemination workshops to share solutions to fight the devastating impact of coffee leaf rust, and to assess the health benefits of coffee consumption, delegates discussed the challenges affecting the coffee sector in Central American countries and Mexico, as well as exciting developments to support the sustainable development of the coffee sector. This included new avenues for funding projects and mobilising impact investment through collaborative initiatives with Governments, international organisations and financial institutions, as well as the private sector.
Delegates will also received the latest statistics and analysis on the international coffee market, including reports on coffee trade flows and the increasing role of women in the production, supply and demand of coffee.