International Coffee Partners (ICP) was founded in 2001 by dedicated coffee companies to address the challenges of smallholder coffee farming families together. Celebrating 20 years of ICP, representatives of the coffee companies came together to both look back and to discuss pressing issues faced by smallholder families.
Coffee company partnership to improve livelihood situation of smallholders
Not only looking at coffee production but at the family farm as a whole, ICP is implementing a holistic approach to coffee sustainability. International Coffee Partners would be nothing without its shareholder Delta Cafés (Portugal), Franck (Croatia), Joh. Johannson (Norway), Lavazza Group (Italy), Löfbergs (Sweden), Neumann Gruppe (Germany), Paulig (Finland) and Tchibo (Germany). All family owned, European coffee companies to whom being part of ICP means being committed to collaborative approach to coffee sustainability.
Coffee consumers, entrepreneurship and dealing with crisis
During the discussion, relevant issues were elaborated on and possible solutions mentioned. Here are some key takeaways:
"We don’t want to be just a charity association; we don’t want just to provide subsidiums to the farmers and maybe to allow them to overcome difficult situation in the short term, we want to try to build sustainable future for all in the industry, so entrepreneurship is the only way to go through."
"But we also saw the potential in making a change and to create an impact in order to improve the livelihoods for the farmers, to make them more resilient."
"First of all, it is the sense of independency that every entrepreneur has to nurture. It makes them more resilient and ready to face possible change and uncertainty. Independence is very important, and the feeling of being able to face uncertainty and to mitigate risks."
"I should say that entrepreneurship is so important in the smallholder sector in the coffee producing countries, because, depending on coffee, on one product and putting all your eggs in one basket, as it is said colloquially is a risk."
"Although you see me in a suit today, believe me, we are the ones with the sleeves up, with the boots on, that are on the field, and that are at home, in the villages, and also in the farmer’s huts, we are very much honored of being a partner to ICP as much as to the farmers and really being the linking agent and the partner of trust between the two sides."
"Partnerships between public and private sectors are build on common goals, trust, and the understanding that both sides have to serve a diverse set of interests. To set up a successful partnership, both parties need to align their strategic priorities. Regarding ICP, we are happy that we have joined understanding that coffee production is a means to an end, our main aim is to improve the livelihood of farmers and their families."
"We have a lot to work on there, to educate also on the consumer side, to really get the consumers to understand the process behind the hard work, all the way that the coffee goes, from the coffee farms to end up in a cup somewhere. I think it’s important that everyone gets more knowledge about it, and also have the respect for what is done in the whole process. At the end of the day we all want to be able to continue to consume great coffee also in the future, we need, really, ICP’s efforts to make it possible for people to live a good life growing coffee."