International Commodity Expos are pivotal in promoting businesses and industries that serve as an invaluable platform for networking, product display, and establishing connections with potential customers and partners. These expos offer opportunities for market research, brand visibility, and fostering new business associations. Among global expos worldwide in Coffee, World of Coffee is a comprehensive event encompassing every aspect of the coffee industry that benefits producers, professionals, and markets respectively.
Currently, the Fairtrade Network of Asia Pacific Producers (NAPP) has 48 coffee producers in Asia and the Pacific in both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. It primarily focuses on marketing linkages and business while also nurturing producer capacity and expanding their skills through global exposure. Participation in global forums facilitates access to market trends, opportunities, and agri-business technologies through networking.
As a proactive move, Fairtrade NAPP, together with 03 coffee producers from India, Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic
actively participated in the 3-day World of Coffee Expo in Athens, Greece. The objective was to showcase and promote the diverse range of coffee from the Asia Pacific region while fostering a collaborative environment among producers, importers, roasters, and other stakeholders. The Fairtrade team included representatives from various organizations such as Fairtrade International, FT Germany, FT Netherlands, FT Poland, FT Switzerland, FT Austria, CLAC, FT Africa, and FTA NAPP, as well as representatives from coffee producer organizations across all Producer Networks.
The Expo was a large-scale event featuring a variety of booths spread across two separate halls. One hall consisted of roasters, buyers, small importers, country-specific coffee associations, and producers from various countries in addition to representatives from the International Coffee Organization, the International Trade Centre, and other stakeholders. The other hall showcased machinery manufacturers, packaging materials, and other coffee consumption-related items. Throughout the 3-day Expo, various activities were organized such as meetings with the Fairtrade International (FI) and National Fairtrade Organization (NFO) teams, and meetings with other Producer Networks (PN) teams and producers. In addition to this, 03 coffee producers met with potential buyers at the Fairtrade booth, meetings with roasters and importers at their respective booths, visits to machinery and packaging booths, digital platform demonstrations, presentations by producers in the lecture hall, discussions on innovations, and participation in cupping sessions and lecture hall presentations.
The primary goals of Fairtrade NAPP’s participation in the Expo were as follows:
- Enhance visibility and promote high-quality, ethically produced coffee beans from NAPP region producers.
- Discover potential market opportunities for Fairtrade-certified coffee.
- Gain valuable insights on sustainable products from leading roasteries, traders, importers, distributors, and brands in the country.
- To understand the current market demand, trends, and forecasts for sustainable coffee production and consumption.
- Establish a network for long-term market scoping to provide ongoing support for producers.
Engaging in meetings with various roasters, buyers, and technology providers at over 150 booths, both individually and jointly with NAPP, proved fruitful as it resulted in the generation of more than 100 leads. The team also met with technology providers such as Farm Force, Trade-In Space, and Farmly who have been providing digital platforms to support producers in monitoring production, procurements and sales. The Fairtrade team has now facilitated a meeting with Farmforce, whose technology was found to be of more value to our producers in view of EU deforestation regulation and their economic offering.
In addition to a mini cupping session held at the Fairtrade booth, 2 separate cupping sessions were conducted in the cupping hall, facilitated by volunteers from the Speciality Coffee Association. 9 samples from the NAPP region were included in the cupping, which garnered significant interest from buyers, particularly for Vietnamese coffee, attracting two potential new buyers. The presentation by Mr Jacob Jose from Sahyadri Organic Small Farmers Consortium, India, on farmer innovations and agroecology models, especially received high praise and attention from other participants and NFOs. The major outcomes from this expo are as follows –
- Enhanced Collaboration and Resource Sharing:
The expo served as a platform for PNs, NFOs, FIs, and PNs to come together and collaborate, resulting in improved resource sharing. A notable aspect was the provision of upgraded facilities that allowed Fairtrade producers to conduct business meetings with existing and prospective traders at both the Fairtrade booth and buyer booths. This enabled the establishment of meaningful connections and expanded trade opportunities within the coffee sector. Through the pooling of knowledge, expertise, and resources, these organizations collectively amplified the impact of Fairtrade coffee production.
- Expert Representation and Effective Communication:
Fairtrade was well-represented at the expo by knowledgeable professionals from NFOs, FIs, and PNs who possess extensive expertise in Fairtrade and the coffee supply chain. Their profound understanding of the industry, coupled with their adept communication skills, allowed them to effectively convey essential messages regarding impact, sourcing, quality, and important topics like the rise in Fairtrade coffee prices. The Fairtrade booth served as a bustling hub, attracting many participants, and hosting crowded gatherings, business meetings, and seminars that engaged over 150 individuals.
- Building Relationships and Expanding Markets:
The expo provided an ideal platform for producers to establish and strengthen connections with importers and roasters, paving the way for enhanced business opportunities. Importers and roasters sought updates on their current suppliers and explored potential new origins, gaining valuable insights into Fairtrade dynamics such as pricing, harvest conditions, and quality. Producers and importers alike were keen to engage with roasters interested in the impact of Fairtrade and the availability of high-quality coffee from new sources. The cupping sessions at the Fairtrade booth showcased exceptional samples, generating significant interest among buyers, particularly for Vietnam coffee, which attracted two potential new buyers.
- Partner Development and Support:
Fairtrade organizations, including Fairtrade Switzerland and Fairtrade Netherlands, extended invitations to their traders and licensees to engage with PNs and producers at the expo. This collaborative interaction fostered a deeper understanding of concerns, interests, and challenges, paving the way for effective partnerships. Moreover, it provided an opportunity for NFOs to showcase various agroecology models implemented at producer farms, climate mitigation projects, and initiatives promoting youth and women empowerment. This exchange of information and support not only strengthens partnerships but also encourages sustainable practices and drives positive change within the industry.
In conclusion, the World of Coffee Expo provided a dynamic platform for Fairtrade NAPP and its producers to achieve their objectives and create a meaningful impact in the coffee industry. Through fruitful meetings with NFOs such as FT Germany, FT Netherlands, FT Poland, FT Switzerland, and FT Austria, valuable insights into market opportunities and challenges in their respective countries were gained. These interactions not only facilitated networking but also laid the foundation for long-term support. With the assistance of FT Switzerland and FT Netherlands, producers had the opportunity to engage with potential buyers like Caventura and Algrano, which showed great promise. Visits to these buyers’ booths, accompanied by producers, allowed for detailed discussions and further exploration of collaboration. The Expo served as a catalyst for building relationships, expanding markets, and fostering a sustainable and thriving coffee industry for Fairtrade NAPP and its dedicated producers. We hope to grow our network stronger and more resilient in future.
“It was very helpful for our SPO to find out new buyers. We have received a lot of enquires after the show. I met more than 100 buyers and found 20+ promising leads. The support from the NAPP team was fantastic who supported me in connecting with a good number of buyers and supporting better interaction with buyers. NAPP support in facilitating the presentation of our innovative practices in the lecture hall helped us in getting more visibility in the international forum.” – Mr. Jacob Jose, Sahyadri Organic Small Farmers Consortium.
“Through the World of Coffee Expo, it was very helpful to update my knowledge of coffee. Meeting with Fairtrade teams, different roasters, buyers and producers of different countries was a wonderful opportunity which helped in building a network and it will be helpful for our producer organisation in long-term business scouting. I am very confident now to showcase the voice of our organisation in promoting coffee across geographies. The Expo has helped develop marketing skills due to access to very useful information at various booths. We thank you to the NAPP team for providing such a wonderful opportunity and for your strong support.” – Teeyang Bliakeng, Vanmai Cooperative, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
“This is an opportunity for me and our SPO to see the big coffee market, the potential customers with high-quality coffee as FLO coffee with a premium price, the gap of the price will back help our farmers more. The support from the Fairtrade team for us to promote the products, information about the FLO program, and coffee was excellent. We could get more than 30 potential leads and immediately we got the contract with one new client with 2 containers Robusta grade 1 screen 18 wet polished and 10 bags fine Robusta black honey.” – Thanh Phan, EA TAN Coperative, Vietnam.