Coffee, being an international commodity, is a unifying force that can bring ethnicities, cultures, countries and colours together and work towards sustainability and regenerative agriculture, said Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Commerce and Industries.
The Minister said coffee was a shared passion and the beverage or commodity being a unifying force has the potential to bring diverse communities and cultures from all over the world together.
Mr. Goyal was speaking at the opening session of 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC) held for the first time in Asia in Bengaluru on Monday. The four-day global coffee exposition, being organised by London-based International Coffee Organisation set up under the aegis of the United Nations to highlight the economic importance of coffee, is attended by coffee industry stakeholders including producers, curers, roasters, exporters, policymakers, specialty coffee experts and researchers from over 80 coffee-growing and coffee-consuming geographies including India.
According to the Minister, Bengaluru, where technology meets taste and helped in creating a perfect blend between flavour and innovation, was the right destination to host WCC kind of global coffee events.
Commenting on the theme ‘Embracing Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture,’ the minister said, it resonated well with everyone as the topic was extremely relevant today as sustainability issues have increasingly become a concern.
“When we address the challenges of climate change it does not add to our costs. In fact, it makes a product much better, valuable, marketable and responsible. Therefore it is important to practice safe agriculture without hurting the planet,” the Minister urged the world coffee community gathered at WCC.
Piyush Goyal emphasised the importance of more women entering into the coffee industry. For instance, he pointed out that there was only one woman, Vanusia Nogueira, Executive Director, International Coffee Organization amongst industry experts who shared the stage with him at the inaugural session of WCC.
“Today I am seeing just one woman here. This has to change. More women have to come into the industry and make it more vibrant and diverse. In fact, I was particularly happy to see that my sister Malavika (referring to current Managing Director and Chairperson of Coffee Day Enterprises and wife of late V.G Siddhartha) has continued the cafe Coffee Day and is growing into bigger bites,” the Minister complimented.
Mr. Goyal also hoped that more new ideas, new partnerships and innovations would emerge from this global coffee summit that would benefit all stakeholders in the coffee world. Conference sessions would revolve around important topics like Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture, Financing Mechanisms, Coffee Quality, Sustainability & Climate Change, Start-up Innovations, Coffee Trade, Livelihood Challenges, Consumption, Social Sustainability, Importance of Robusta and Trading Platforms.
Joe Kuli, Minister for Coffee from Papua New Guinea, Massimiliano Fabian, Chair of the International Coffee Council, Suresh Narayanan, Chairman & Managing Director, Nestle India, Sunil D’Souza, CEO & MD, Tata Consumer Products, Challa Srishant, Managing Director, CCL Products, Shiva Krishnamurthy, Vice President, South Asia Food & Beverage, Hindustan Unilever Limited; N. Sathappan, Chairman & MD, SLN Coffee, Dr Nogueira, of ICO, K.G. Jagadeesha, IAS, CEO, and Secretary, Coffee Board of India, N. N. Narendra, Director Finance, Coffee Board of India also spoke at the opening.