Kenya to host high-level global coffee conference

Kenya’s coffee sector is set for a major boost with a top international conference slated to take place here.

The country has won the right to host the 123rd International Coffee Council (ICC) meeting next year. The forum is expected to provide platform to discuss ways of addressing challenges facing the sector and ensuring growers get fair financial gains.

Coffee sub-sector implementation committee chairman Joseph Kieyah confirmed that International Coffee Organisation (ICO) gave Kenya the opportunity to host the session in April after defeating Honduras during the 121st meeting held recently in Mexico.

The council is the highest authority of the organisation and is composed of representatives of each member government. It meets in March and September to discuss coffee matters, approve strategic documents and consider the recommendations of advisory bodies and committees.

A team of Kenyan delegates comprising of government and private sector players who attended the Mexico meeting lobbied aggressively to host the meeting forcing the Central American country to drop its bid. 

Kieyah who was among the delegates said Kenya was granted the opportunity to hold the meeting for the first time since the creation of ICO in 1963.  ICO is the main intergovernmental organisation for coffee bringing together exporting and importing governments to tackle challenges facing the world coffee sector through co-operation.

World consumption

Member governments currently at 50 represent 98 per cent of world coffee production and 67 per cent of world consumption. Kieyah said hosting the meeting offers a great opportunity to the local coffee industry which is currently picking up after a more than decade decline. “The meeting will open up more of opportunities for Kenyan farmers and offer learning opportunities from global producers like Brazil, Ethiopia, Uganda and Colombia,” he said.   The meeting, he confirmed, was recently endorsed by the cabinet.  

The meeting, he said, will further enhance the country’s coffee profile. Kenya is globally reputed for production of fine arabica coffee.

“Our coffee is classified in the category of Colombian milds or fine Arabica coffee that fetches the highest prices in the world market,” Kieyah  said in a recent interview.

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