Today I travel to Medellín with 20 CRS colleagues, partners and project participants from Colombia, Ecuador and Haiti for Let’s Talk Coffee – the annual coffee value chain event that Sustainable Harvest created 10 years ago. The first Let’s Talk Coffee was a groundbreaking innovation, creating an annual space for face-to-face communications among farmer organizations and their roaster partners to address shared challenges and opportunities in their trading relationships and in the broader specialty coffee marketplace.
Since then, the event has grown, moved to different sites throughout the Americas and been replicated in Africa. Let’s Talk Coffee has also expanded beyond the supply chain to welcome new actors, including CRS, to help Sustainable Harvest and its trading partners address emerging issues in specialty coffee: information and communications technologies, climate change, value chain finance, risk management, food security, etc. This year, in response to new market opportunities and in support of the 1,600 smallholder coffee farmers we are supporting in the Ecuadoran Amazon through our Borderlands project, we are working with Sustainable Harvest to bring yet another new issue to Let’s Talk Coffee: specialty Robusta.
CRS has provided financial support to Let’s Talk Coffee to sponsor a series of learning opportunities around the emerging market for specialty Robusta coffee led by experts from the United States, Europe and Asia. We are excited to partner again with Sustainable Harvest to support Let’s Talk Coffee, and to create new learning opportunities around this growing niche of the specialty market.
It is exciting that you are working with Ecuadorian coffee farmers in the Amazon region. I know there are several displaced farmers coming from conflict areas in Colombia living in that region too so it is great CRS is trying to support those farmers and the region.
Talking about Robusta can still be a challenge in the specialty coffee industry but I wish you the best luck in all this work. I look forward to learning more about the farmers, their situation and opportunities