The Executive Director of the ICO Roberio Oliveira Silva travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend the 12th African Fine Coffee Conference & Exhibition hosted by the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA).
He was accompanied by ICO’s Head of Operations, Mr Mauricio Galindo, and ICO’s Chief Economist, Mr Denis Seudieu.
On Thursday, 12 February, Mr Silva delivered his remarks at the opening of the event. Click here to read his speech.
Mr Silva began the week in Kenya by meeting a group of local coffee producers during a visit to the Kigwandi factory of the Mutheka Farmers Cooperative Society.
Mr Silva also met with Mr Felix K. Koskei, Cabinet Secretary, and with Ms Sicily Kanini Kariuki, Principal Secretary for Agriculture, both of the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.
On Friday, 13 February, Mr Silva delivered a presentation in which he spoke of the potential that exists for African coffee on the global market.
He said that the growth the continent’s economy has experienced over the last 10 years has seen the emergence of a consuming class with significant purchasing power.
Even more encouragingly, he added, coffee consumption in producing countries in Africa has grown at nearly 3% per year over the last 10 years, reaching 5.1 millions bags in 2014.
“This provides a local alternative market which helps to protect farmers and provide a buffer against the volatility of the international coffee market. It is essential that we continue to promote coffee consumption in producing countries,” he added.
Mr Silva said that Africa is well placed to take advantage of the growing market for specialty coffees and praised AFCA for promoting quality through its Taste of Harvest programme.
He also praised the coffee research work being conducted in Africa by organizations like the Kenyan Coffee Research Foundation. He called on the coffee community to continue supporting research to increase pest resistance, quality, and yields.