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Africa: ITC head pays tribute to Brazilian coffee

From left to right: Aldir Texeira, Director-General of Experimental Agricola do Brasil, Anna Illy of illycaffé, Arancha González, ITC Executive Director, and Josiane Cotrim of International Women’s Coffee Alliance (photo credit: ITC News)

In Brazil, coffee is serious business. The country is the world’s leading producer of coffee, which accounts for around 6% of Brazil’s agriculture exports. But the coffee bean also has an important social impact.

As such, it is no surprise that coffee has been selected as a priority sector at the Women Vendors’ Exhibition and Forum, which took place in São Paulo last week (1-3 September), organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and Apex-Brasil.

Ahead of the event, which brings together more than 500 women entrepreneurs from around the world to talk and do business, ITC Executive Director Arancha González had the opportunity to learn more about the role of coffee in Brazilian society.

Coffee research, social impact

Along with Anna Illy of illycaffé, Ms. González first visited the Instituto Biológico, Brazil’s leading agriculture research organization.

There they had an opportunity to learn about the huge scientific effort that goes into ensuring that Brazil’s coffee production stays healthy and continues to add to the country’s GDP.

They saw how researchers have helped coffee producers cope with the drought that several Brazilian states have suffered from in recent years, and which has hit the industry severely.

Ms. González also got to witness first-hand how coffee is helping empower young people, and especially women. At a visit to SofaCafe in one of São Paulo’s suburbs, she had the opportunity to see how Fazedores de Café is providing training to young people to help them break into the industry.

Through the project, young people are being trained in everything coffee: from cupping to roasting and the pouring of coffee, as well as in how to run a business. As such, they are being empowered to take up work in the industry and even start their own enterprises.

Learn more about ITC’s Women in Coffee project.

Learn more about the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.