Coffee producers from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras and Peru have met in the Colombian municipality of Pitalito to discuss regulations on deforestation and forest degradation
The Huila Chamber of Commerce in Pitalito, Colombia, hosted the meeting “Dialogue and exchange of experiences on sustainability in the coffee value chain“, in which for two days, representatives of the European Union, international organisations and several Latin American coffee producing countries analysed the European Union Regulation 2023/1115 on supply chains free of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as systems and instruments for the traceability of the coffee value chain implemented in countries of the Americas.
The meeting, organised by the European Union (EU) funded programme AL-INVEST Verde, in collaboration with the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism and ProColombia, was aimed at facilitating dialogue and facilitating compliance with the regulation for the Latin American countries present: Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras and Peru.
The meeting was opened by Alberto Menghini, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union in Colombia, and Dilberto Trujillo, Secretary of Agriculture of the Department of Huila. Manuel Chacón, Director of Trade Relations of the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism (MINCIT), and John Bazill, International Policy and Regional Affairs Officer of the Latin America Unit of the European Commission, also participated.
The expansion of agricultural land to produce different commodities, including coffee, has caused an increase in deforestation and forest degradation. In order to curb these acts, the EU regulation 2023/1115 was approved in June 2023, which establishes the need to comply with specific processes for the agents that trade with these raw materials.
During the meeting, Vanusia Nogueira, Executive Director of the International Coffee Organisation, stressed that “40% of coffee exports from Latin America and the Caribbean go to the European Union“, which is why she called for joint work and dialogue so that coffee can provide “an income for producers” and, “at the same time, contribute to sustainability”.
After the inauguration, Emilio Calvo, director of Component 2 of the AL-INVEST Verde programme, managed by the FIIAPP, spoke about the importance of bringing together the main coffee-producing countries. “It is a great opportunity to analyse the challenges of the value chain and share solutions to common problems” he said.
During the second day of the event, attendees had the opportunity to learn about experiences of socio-environmental traceability in the coffee value chain in different Latin American countries. Representatives from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru presented their initiatives.
Likewise, concerns were shared in a round table discussion organised after these presentations, which allowed the challenges and opportunities of the different countries for compliance with the regulation of products free of deforestation and forest degradation to be compiled, as well as relevant aspects to advance in the due diligence process.
Finally, a visit was made to sustainable coffee growing experiences to learn about production alternatives and good practices implemented in Colombia.