Every April the international community gathers at the Financing for Development (FfD) Forum under the United Nations Economic and Social Council to discuss progress and challenges in implementing commitments made at the United Nations International Conferences on FfD. For the past two years, SAFIN has sought to raise awareness about agriculture and agri-SME finance in FfD debates, which often focus on infrastructure, energy and social services.
This year we worked in partnership with the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to target the policy and development finance communities gathered at the FfD Forum, and the investors' community gathered at the United Nations SDG Investment Fair. We drew attention to challenges around financing investment in coffee value chains, given growing global consumption but sharply declining global prices over the past two years. Both value chain actors and financial investors are affected by this decline in prices. Low prices hinder financing flows for investments that could transform production systems to better withstand environmental stressors and climatic shocks, to which many small producers in particular are vulnerable.
Our session at the Fair was opened by José Sette, Executive Director of ICO, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Zachary Bleicher, IFAD representative in New York. The panellists were Bill Murray, President and CEO of the United States National Coffee Association; Mary Petitt, Ambassador for North America of the Global Coffee Platform; Steve Hollingworth, CEO of the Grameen Foundation; and Hernan Manson, Head of Inclusive Agribusiness at the International Trade Center and SAFIN Steering Committee member. The session at the Forum featured José Sette and Mary Petitt, H.E. Mr. Admasu Nebebe, State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia and Juan Estebán Orduz, President of the Colombian Coffee Federation.
The sessions teased out the key elements of effective solutions to mobilize short- and long-term finance for coffee value chain transformation. Our panelists discussed some country experiences in terms of sectoral policies and public investments, as well as approaches to managing investment risk - including innovative financial tools such as the IFAD-supported Climate and Commodity Hedging to Enable Transformation (CACHET).