Coffee is a Pillar of Rural Development
World Coffee Producers Forum 2017, Foro Mundial De Productores De Cafe 2017, Hotel Intercontinental, Medellin, Colombia
Former President Bill Clinton, recognised for his poverty alleviation and rural development efforts, recognised coffee as a pillar of rural development during his participation in the 1st World Coffee Producers Forum that took place in Medellín, Colombia, 10-12 July.
Mr. Clinton participated in the panel “Economic Sustainability and Rural Development to Promote Global Stability and Democracy,” along with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. He referred to post-conflict scenarios as triggers of development noting that “adding is better than subtracting, multiplying is better than dividing.”
Mr. Clinton described coffee as a “pillar of stability” and a barrier to illicit activities such as drug trafficking. He advised coffee growers to have complementary income-generating activities, noting that in countries rich in biodiversity, such as Colombia or Brazil, developing the ecotourism industry in coffee growing regions is a good alternative.
In line with the Forum’s spirit, Clinton highlighted the role that fostering co-responsibility among all players of the coffee chain has in achieving sustainability. To advance on this issue, he suggested setting an overarching goal and then breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals.
President Santos celebrated the strategic nature of the Bogotá-based Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) in working to achieve a higher income for producers while fostering social development in rural Colombia through infrastructure investment (roads, electrification, schools and hospitals.) “That’s precisely why coffee growing regions have higher well-being than other rural areas.”