Over the last twenty years, the coffee sector has undergone many transformations, however Coffee education at origin has not evolved much over the last decade. It is often delivered in the form of in‐person workshops, held in hired venues, and run by international educators who deliver training only to a selected number of representatives with the limited transfer of knowledge to middle management and staff. Overall, coffee education is expensive, bounded by trainers’ availability, hard to scale, and with an impact that is difficult to measure.
The Covid‐19 pandemic has only intensified these challenges. At origin, the demand from premium and specialty markets has decreased, leading to increased price pressure and overall uncertainty. This disrupts the operations of producer organizations and results in less income for farmers and strained livelihoods.
Producer organizations, cooperatives, local processors, and export companies do not merely serve as key supply chain actors; they are the vehicle to premium and specialty markets for most smallholder farming communities. Farmers’ livelihoods depend on the ability of these key supply chain actors to enter, compete, and thrive in international markets. Hence. coffee education is an important tool for them to stay ahead of market demands and consumer preferences. It is one of the channels through which meaningful impact can be achieved.
While the Covid‐19 pandemic has created an incredibly difficult context for many producer organizations to work and thrive, it has also opened new opportunities. With travel restrictions and social distancing measures in place, coffee professionals have moved to social media channels and digital platforms to connect, learn, and share best practices.
To support the producer organizations in achieving financial profitability and sustainability by building their digital capabilities to leverage the benefit of the tool, Fairtrade International along with 03 Producer Networks has partnered with VUNA Origin Consulting and launched an online, interactive Fairtrade Coffee School.
The Fairtrade Coffee School is designed to support small-scale producer organisations in strengthening their commercial growth and access to new markets via tailor-made courses accessible through a multilingual training platform that runs 24/7across all producing regions.
Under the school, two virtual courses will be provided on:
- Green Coffee Trading Fundamentals by Sara , a coffee professional with over 10 years of experience working in the sector specialised in supply chain and green coffee buying.
- Digital Market Access and Client Engagement by Dennise, a ecommerce and digital growth professional with 15+ years of working in the sector, for 40+ upcoming and household known brands. (Upcoming)
Course 01: Green Coffee Trading Fundamentals
In order to be profitable and mitigate risks, organisations need to implement effective green coffee trading strategies, as well as increase revenues and optimize profits using various techniques.
Unlike traditional green coffee trading training, this course is meant to equip students with tools and practical tips on how to execute green coffee trading strategies in their business and optimize profits. It is targeted at small to mid-size producer organisations/ cooperatives and their commercial exporter partners certified under Fairtrade.
The first course was launched on August 11, 2022 through an Orientation Webinar organised by Vuna School where the producers were taken through the platform navigation and the overall content of the course. 100 participants from 54 small producer organisations attended the Webinar.
The course will contain 07 sessions (English, Vietnamese and Bahasa) on green coffee trading fundamentals, coffee trading, harvest evaluation and forecast, purchasing strategy, the structure of a purchase contract, sales strategy, price risk mitigation tools, and good governance.
The course is scheduled to end on Oct 13th where a final briefing will be provided by VUNA. Currently, 80+ producer members are undergoing the training.