The World Coffee Conference (WCC) held in Bengaluru has played an important role in raising India’s reputation as a producer of exceptional coffee and highlighting the growing coffee culture within the country.
Organized by the International Coffee Organization and the Coffee Board, the four-day event concluded recently and provided a platform to showcase sustainable Indian coffee farming practices to a global audience.
Coffee Board CEO and Secretary KG Jagadisha expressed his excitement about the incredible response to the WCC 2023 from both the global and domestic sides. He believes that the event will empower Indian coffee farmers to fetch better prices for their produce in the future, attract investment, leverage technology and promote innovation in the industry.
The conference attracted more than 2,600 delegates, including 323 participants from 31 coffee growing and consuming countries. The discussion at the event revolved around the theme of “Sustainability through Circular Economy and Regenerative Agriculture” to address various challenges faced by the coffee sector.
A distinctive feature of Indian coffee cultivation is the practice of growing coffee in the shade of other trees, unlike major producers such as Brazil and Vietnam, which grow coffee in open fields.
Due to this unique style, Indian coffees command premium prices in the global market. According to Jagdisha, Indian coffee now fetches a premium of 15-20% over terminal prices in London and New York, a significant improvement over the 10-15% discount two decades ago.
Although India has made progress in coffee cultivation, it still has room for improvement in terms of adoption of modern processing technologies.
However, coffee culture is spreading rapidly in the northern parts of the country, with Mumbai emerging as a prominent coffee center along with Bengaluru.
Despite the growing cafe culture in India, a notable challenge facing the sector is the lack of trained baristas. To address this issue, the Coffee Board plans to train more than 1,000 baristas across the country. They have also established a mobile team dedicated to skill building efforts.
Additionally, the Coffee Board unveiled the India Coffee App, designed to provide growers and exporters with access to the Board’s services and valuable information, including weather updates and market prices.
Addressing the farmers’ meeting, Amardeep Singh Bhatia, Additional Commerce Secretary, highlighted the growing global demand for coffee over the past three decades, especially for specialty coffees. This growing demand presents a positive outlook for the coffee industry.
However, climate change is a major challenge for coffee production worldwide. Bhatia stressed the need for producing countries to develop strategies to deal with issues such as climate change, increasing pest attacks and residues in coffee production. He emphasized the importance of accelerating research and development activities to effectively meet these challenges.
The Indian government is actively promoting coffee cultivation in non-traditional growing regions. Bhatia said the government aims to expand coffee cultivation to an additional two lakh hectares in the next decade in non-traditional developing states such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and the North-East.
Thus, the four-day WCC2023 showcased the dynamism of the coffee industry in India, attracting a diverse range of participants from various stakeholders as well as coffee producing and consuming countries. He emphasized India’s emergence as a premium coffee producer and the need to address the challenges posed by climate change and other factors in the growth of the industry. The event also emphasized the importance of innovation, skill development, and technology adoption in the continued success of the Indian coffee sector.
First Published: 29 Sep 2023, 11:00 IST