Timor-Leste forms first coffee industry association

The Timor-Leste Coffee Association (ACTL) will be formally registered this year with the vision of becoming a voluntary association of members, working together for the Timor-Leste coffee industry in order to increase the volume, and improve the value of coffees sold for export and domestic consumption.

A group of 24 industry members met at a workshop in Dili, in September to develop a vision, strategic plan, structure and governance model for the new association, which is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Market Development Facility (MDF).

“More than 25 per cent of all households in Timor-Leste grow coffee and there is huge potential to improve production and quality” said Paolo Spantigati, ADB Country Director for Timor-Leste. “This private sector initiative will support planning and implementation of activities to develop the coffee sector and improve farmers’ lives.”

The association development process was facilitated by Specialty Coffee Association of America Co-founder and Coffee Quality Institute consultant Ted Lingle, who led the weeklong workshop, which was attended by representatives of coffee farming groups, cooperatives, coffee traders, exporters, roasters and retailers.

“Revitalisation of the country’s coffee agriculture sector was agreed to be the primary mission of the association, which it will achieve through member training, industry capacity-building initiatives and the establishment of quality standards,” said ACTL spokesperson, Evangelino Monteiro Soares. “The  ACTL will be the unified voice representing Timor-Leste’s coffee trade domestically and when promoting the Timor-Leste coffee origin brand overseas.”

The group’s first activity will be a cupping competition and national coffee festival planned for 1 December, 2016, featuring a professional conference program with international speakers and consumer exhibition area for roasters and retailers to market Timorese coffee.

Timor-Leste is well known within the coffee industry as the origin of the Hibrido de Timor variety of coffee, prized for its cup characteristics, disease resistance and productivity.

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