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More than 1,400 attendees at the  first  day of  the  Virtual Producer & Roaster Forum

Virtual Producer & Roaster Forum

MILAN – Monday, April 5 2021, was the first day of Virtual Producer & Roaster Forum, the industry-leading digital coffee sector event bringing professionals together from around the world. More than 1,400 people attended the first day of the event, which seeks to promote collaboration, networking, and knowledge sharing across the coffee sector. Virtual PRF has already driven green coffee sales among stakeholders involved with the event, and aims to serve as a basis for strong future business relationships between a range of different supply chain actors.

After a brief welcome session, Virtual PRF kicked off with an introduction from Francisco Ordoñez, the President of Host Country Sponsor IHCAFE. IHCAFE promotes Honduran coffee on the international stage, supports the country’s agroindustrial supply chain, and drives for greater excellence and quality among producers.

Francisco gave an overview of the Honduran sector in his lecture, providing insight into the origin’s history as a coffee producing country and looking at how Honduran coffee is changing.

Following Francisco’s lecture, Virtual Producer & Roaster Forum hosted its first panel, entitled China: The Emerging Coffee Market. This featured Natalia Li of Ingenuity Coffee, Lewis Harding of Coffee Exchange, and Brian Clark of Wandering Moose Café and Legacy Coffee.

Natalia, Lewis, and Brian spoke about the various opportunities in the Chinese coffee market, examining the particularities of a consuming market growing by 30% every single year (compared to an international rate of just 2%).

Following the panel, Martin Mayorga of Diamond Sponsor Mayorga Organics gave a lecture entitled Analysing The Supply Chain: Transactional Values. Mayorga Organics works with producers of coffee, cacao, chia, and other artisanal organic products, and was founded with the aim of eliminating systemic poverty in agricultural communities.

In his lecture, Martin gave an overview of how Mayorga Organics came to exist, while also examining and challenging the coffee supply chain more widely.

After Martin’s lecture, Virtual PRF moved onto another panel: Commercial vs Specialty: Understanding Value. This discussion looked to examine what makes specialty coffee special, comparing it to commercial coffee and understanding where the difference in value comes from.

The speakers for this panel were Bram de Hoog (Ally Coffee), Dakota Graff (Onyx Coffee Lab), Zoran Stanojević (Kafeterija), and Emilio Estevez (SOGIMEX).

Another panel followed, entitled Sustainable Production, Fair Trade, and the Environment: What’s Actually Possible? This featured three panellists from CAFICO, a producer and trader based in Honduras.

Through the course of this discussion, Sergio Romero, Walter Romero, and Teresa Pacheco discussed sustainable and environmentally responsible practices at origin.

They spoke about not just at how they can benefit coffee farmers, but also looked at how practical and plausible these practices they might be for the producer.

This was followed by the Coffee Buyers and the Demand for Certified Products from Honduras panel, featuring four Rainforest Alliance representatives from Europe and Central America. They spoke about the various benefits that certifications have for coffee producers, and looked at how they add credibility and value for the consumer market.

Following these panels, Virtual PRF then hosted a series of lectures.

Reviewing The Costs of Production: A Cost-Benefit Analysis by Karl Wienhold of Cedro Alto Coffee explored how producers can analyse their outgoings and work towards longer-term financial stability.

Why Consider Cold Brew? by Nestlé‘s Matt Swenson looked at why cold brew is becoming more popular, and how it represents an ever-growing market for businesses across the coffee sector.

The Less Is More: Small Scale Production of High Quality Coffee microlecture by CLAC‘s Joao Mattos examined the smallholder farming model in relation to the production of high-scoring specialty coffee, and whether or not it was sustainable for producers.

The Volcafe Way & Sustainability, by Carlos Ortiz of Volcafe, discussed the “Volcafe Way”. This explored the founding principles of the company in a wider context of sustainability in production and export.

The Digitalization of the Coffee Supply Chain; Utilizing Transparency to Eliminate Greenwashing by iFinca‘s Alexander Barrett explored the concept of “greenwashing”, where misleading information is published about a product to make consumers think it is more environmentally responsible than it actually is.

Espresso Americano‘s documentary covered their relationships with stakeholders and actors across the supply chain, focusing on quality and community engagement throughout.

And the final lecture of the day, How Forward Crop Purchases Reshaped The Brazilian Market & Impacted Global Prices, by Mercon Coffee Group‘s Artur Ornelas, explored how forward purchasing changed the Brazilian coffee market and affected the global coffee sector more widely.

At each of these insightful lectures and panel discussions, engagement from attendees was high, with a constant stream of questions and comments on the Airmeet platform.

Virtual PRF’s Head of Communications, Jordan Montgomery, said: “It was great to welcome everyone at the first day of Virtual PRF yesterday. “We had so many insightful lectures and panels, and the engagement from attendees was really wonderful to see. This kind of dialogue is what will drive the coffee sector forward; I’m really excited to see what the second day brings.”

To learn more about Virtual Producer & Roaster Forum, you can visit the event’s website here.