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ICO welcomes UK as newest member, and releases Coffee Development Report 2020

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has officially welcomed the United Kingdom as a new Member to the organisation.

The UK has completed the process of accession to the ICO and became an independent member from the 1 January 2021. ICO Members currently account for 97 per cent of world coffee production and exports and over two-thirds of coffee imports.

A virtual ceremony to celebrate the ICO’s newest Member was held on 28 January 2021.

“The United Kingdom is the 10th largest importer (by volume) of coffee globally. By joining the ICO the UK is investing in this valuable sector,” says ICO Executive Director Jose Sette.

“The ICO offers its Members the opportunity to cooperate on a global level and learn from each other’s experiences in the coffee sector. Membership in the ICO facilitates close contacts with the private sector, development partners and the wider coffee community. Public-private collaboration is vital if we are to ensure a sustainable and prosperous coffee industry. The United Kingdom is our host country and we welcome them as a Member with open arms.

The UK coffee industry is estimated to have an £11billion turnover sector (approximately $US15 billion), employing more than 150,000 people throughout the supply chain

Food Minister Victoria Prentis also expressed how please she was to mark the UK’s official joining of the ICO as an individual importing Member. “This exciting event means that we will be able to continue to work together with other Members, to champion the global coffee sector and to ensure its sustainability,” she says.

Executive Director of the British Coffee Association (BCA), Paul Rooke, says what’s been most impressive in the transition is the Government’s swift action to confirm the membership of the ICO.

“Coffee matters to the UK and, as a country, it is right we seek to take a leading role in protecting and maintaining the production of our favourite beverage. BCA looks forward to working with ICO and its members to enhance development efforts and open markets, and to ongoing collaboration with colleagues in Defra in supporting the UK coffee industry’s role,” he says.

At the virtual ceremony, the ICO also presented the findings of its Coffee Development Report 2020, titled ‘The Value of Coffee: Sustainability, Inclusiveness, and Resilience of the Coffee Global Value Chain’, analyses the coffee sector through the lens of global value chains (GVCs) based on sound empirical analysis.

The ICO’s Sette and Gerardo Patacconi, Head of Operation of the ICO provided highlights of the CDR2020 report, with contributions from Christoph Saenger, former ICO Senior Economist; Rocco Macchiavello; Aoife Hanley, Kiel Institute for the World Economy; and Sebastian Lesch, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

A key recommendation of the report is that a smart mix of market-driven initiatives and regulatory options, constructive dialogue and joint action between public and private sector stakeholders along with accurate and timely information to facilitate cooperation are necessary to maximize the economic benefits for coffee farmers integrating the GVC. It also stresses the importance of ensuring social and environmental sustainability.

Key findings of the report include that the value of annual coffee exports has more than quadrupled from USD 8.4 billion in 1991 to USD 35.6 billion in 2018 with non-producing countries, including the UK, having played a significant role.

The expansion of the coffee GVC is driven by the private sector, but governments need to provide an enabling environment. Higher-income regions such as Europe and North America accounted for more than 96 per cent of roasted coffee exports and 53 per cent of soluble coffee exports in 2018, indicating that processing activities primarily occur in higher-income regions that rely strongly on green coffee imports from the producing lower-income regions.

Other themes highlighted in the report included upgrading opportunities for Arabica and Robusta coffee producers, the need for inclusiveness, the impact of private-sector-driven programs on coffee growers ability to target high-income markets. and the coffee GVCs contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also acknowledged the resilience of the coffee GVC to stressors such as climate change and the current global pandemic.

The Coffee Development Report 2020 has been prepared by the ICO team with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The report builds on and complements other ICO studies such as the ‘Coffee Break Series’ that highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on the global coffee sector.

The full Coffee Development Report 2020 is available in English. A hard copy can be purchased online here and is also available to download for free.

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