Thursday 25 July 2024
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CWS 2024, in Costa Rica, from 20-23 March, Mariano Vargas: “Economic considerations are central to the event’s theme”

The organization is gearing up to host over 1.000 professionals from the coffee industry over the course of the four-day event. With its diverse pavilions and activities, the event promises a comprehensive experience for all attendees, ranging from producers and entrepreneurs to researchers and consumers

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MILAN – An important event for all those actively moving along the coffee supply chain is the Café World Summit (CWS 2024) to be held at the strategic venue of the Costa Rica Convention Center, just minutes from the coffee plantations: the event will take place March 20-23.

We talked about these three days with Mister Mariano Vargas, producer and co-organizer of CWS Mister Roger Plana, event promoter and co-organizer of CWS, Mister Ricardo Azofeifa, producer and organizer of the ‘infusionista challenge’ competition within CWS.

CWS 2024 is your first international coffee congress: why is it so important that it is in Costa Rica, one of the countries producing the bean?

“While Costa Rica’s volume of coffee production may be easily replaceable in international markets, the country maintains a strong reputation and image for specialty coffee.

Moreover, Costa Rican coffee producers are consistently driven to seek new solutions and implement technologies aimed at improving productivity and profitability.

Situated in the heart of the continent, Costa Rica is attractive for attracting various coffee-producing regions. Additionally, its extensive tourist infrastructure, including facilities like the Costa Rica Convention Center where our event will be held, makes it highly conducive for hosting events.

Visiting the farms (photo granted)

This strategic location, coupled with Costa Rica’s esteemed position in the coffee industry, renders it the ideal destination for hosting this international congress, fostering diverse participation and facilitating a fruitful exchange of knowledge and experiences.”

The involvement of producers is very high (47%, practically on par with importing countries): is this a sign that it is finally coming to the fore at a world meeting, the part that originates the entire supply chain?

“The primary aim of this event is to assemble participants representing the entire coffee value chain, with a particular focus on impacting coffee producers. It’s important to note that while the event is not exclusive to producers, our goal is to bridge the gap between them and the rest of the chain.

Often, producers find themselves disconnected from relevant information beyond their farms, particularly in a global value chain context. The significant participation of producers underscores the growing interest in addressing the challenges and opportunities that have characterized the industry since its inception.

This shift towards greater inclusion and collaboration across the supply chain promises a more sustainable and equitable future for all stakeholders involved in coffee production and marketing.”

What have been the biggest challenges in terms of organization and communication for this first edition in Costa Rica?

“The organization’s primary challenge lies in enticing participants across the coffee value chain, especially coffee producers, to attend an event hosted in Costa Rica and engage with pertinent and contemporary topics.

Additionally, we aim to cultivate a network of high-value contacts. Achieving this objective necessitates effective communication and an agenda featuring prominent topics and voices from the sector, delivering a unique and valuable experience not only for this edition but also for future iterations.

Overcoming geographical and cultural barriers has been central to addressing organizational and communication challenges, ensuring diverse and representative participation in the event.”

How many pavilions are there and what is the turnout you expect?

“We envision this event as the epitome of gatherings, structured around 3 vertical axes.

The first axis features a field day held at a farm with over 14 hectares of demonstration plots, generously provided by our sponsors and strategic partners. The second axis encompasses a two-day conference covering six distinct topics, each led by industry leaders and influencers.

Our third axis is dedicated to the commercial area, where sponsors’ stands will showcase the latest products and technologies relevant to the coffee value chain. All three axes will unfold at the Costa Rica Convention Center.

The organization is gearing up to host over 1.000 professionals from the coffee industry over the course of the four-day event. With its diverse pavilions and activities, the event promises a comprehensive experience for all attendees, ranging from producers and entrepreneurs to researchers and consumers. Our overarching goal is to foster collaboration and facilitate knowledge exchange across all facets of the coffee industry.”

Applied technology in agribusiness practices is one of the topics discussed during the panels at CWS 2024: what are the most interesting points to address the climate crisis, deforestation, plant diseases?

Economic considerations are central to the event’s theme, as we aim to influence participating companies’ decision-making processes to enhance business profitability and competitiveness in today’s evolving landscape.

Coffee plantation in Costa Rica (photo granted)

Consequently, we will delve into discussions surrounding new regulations for exportable products to Europe, the climate emergency and its impacts on coffee-producing regions, as well as the phenology, physiology, and genetics of the coffee plant. Additionally, we will explore the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices geared towards regenerating the coffee production model.

These topics are pivotal in addressing the environmental and economic challenges confronting the coffee industry today. The discussions and solutions proposed during the event are anticipated to make significant contributions to the sustainability and global competitiveness of the sector.”

Will it be an opportunity for many professionals from the other side of the world, to make a plantation visit?

“Coffee cultivation predominantly occurs in tropical areas, where entrepreneurs encounter numerous shared challenges. Despite specific details varying across production areas, we all speak the same language and confront similar obstacles.

Visiting a coffee plantation during the event offers industry professionals from around the globe a unique opportunity to gain firsthand insights into the challenges and opportunities within coffee production. It also facilitates direct connections with local producers.

This immersive experience not only deepens understanding of the coffee supply chain but also fosters collaboration and the exchange of best practices among diverse coffee-growing regions. By bridging geographical boundaries, such interactions promote synergy and innovation, ultimately benefiting the entire coffee industry”.

What exactly does the infusion championship consist of?

The infusion championship represents the culmination of the coffee value chain, serving as a platform to bridge the gap between producers and baristas. It is part of a global initiative organized by World Coffee Events (WCE), under the auspices of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), validating national champions from participating countries.

Beyond showcasing the skill and creativity of coffee professionals in infusion preparation, this championship underscores the vital relationship between producers and consumers in the coffee industry.

By highlighting this connection, it strengthens the bonds between both ends of the value chain, fostering greater collaboration and appreciation for the journey of coffee from farm to cup.”

At what point of development is coffee, the specialty in Costa Rica?

“Specialty coffee takes center stage throughout our event, spanning from the plantation and farm visits on day one to the comprehensive agenda of the congress and the showcasing of cutting-edge technologies and products at our sponsors’ stands in the commercial area.

The crowning of the national infusion champion further underscores Costa Rica’s maturity and evolution in this sector, despite its smaller volume of coffee production compared to other countries.

Costa Rica stands out as a key player in the specialty coffee arena, thanks to its renowned reputation for producing high-quality beans and its unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation.

The country’s participation in this international event reflects a growing interest and recognition of Costa Rican coffee on the global stage, signaling a promising future not only for specialty coffee within the country but also beyond its borders.”

How are you responding to the new EUDR challenge?

“We have identified the updating of new European Union regulations for exporting countries as the paramount issue on our agenda. Therefore, it will be the first topic we address, led by the Costa Rica Coffee Institute and our executive director, Gustavo Jiménez. This panel will feature the participation of experts in the field, alongside representatives from companies such as RFA and Enveritas, as well as climate change ambassadors from the European Union.

The Costa Rican coffee industry has responded to the challenge posed by the new European Union regulatory framework with a proactive and collaborative approach. We are committed to understanding and complying with these new requirements to ensure continued access to the European market.

This strategic approach not only reinforces the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of the Costa Rican coffee industry but also enhances trade relations with one of our country’s primary export markets.”

In conclusion, how to participate and why?

“For further information, please visit our official website at https://cafeworldsummit.com/, as well as our social media channels and communication partners, where we provide updates before, during, and after the event. You can also find details about the different registration rates based on the experience you seek.

As a founder and member of the CWS organizing committee, we extend a warm invitation for you to join us at this event and become part of our unique professional community. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to expand your knowledge, network with industry peers, and contribute to the sustainable future of the coffee industry.

Participation in this event offers more than just learning and networking opportunities; it provides a platform for coffee professionals to share their experiences and perspectives, thereby contributing to the ongoing growth and development of the industry on a global scale. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this enriching and transformative experience. We look forward to welcoming you to the Café World Summit.”

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