An online survey among professionals involved in the cocoa and coffee business is the first step towards a global research agenda for these industries. Based on the survey, LEI Wageningen UR researchers will join with other research organisations to propose a strategic, multidisciplinary research agenda at the World Cocoa Conference in June 2014.
Cocoa and Coffee Survey
Wageningen UR researchers are asking farmer organisations, cocoa and coffee processing companies, NGOs, governments and researchers around the world what they think are the big research questions that need to be answered to boost the developments in the cocoa and coffee industry. “These sectors face some tremendous difficulties, especially the cocoa sector”, says LEI researcher Verina Ingram.
Aiming for long-term improvements
Ingram: “The demand for cocoa is growing, but production is not increasing accordingly. The quality of the product can also be improved, as well as the livelihoods of cocoa producers. A strategic research agenda aims to contribute to long-term improvements, such as dealing with climate change, keeping soils fertile and enhancing the relations between producer and consumer countries.”
Research is fragmented
A lot of cocoa research is already done around the world, but it is very fragmented, says Ingram. “Much of the knowledge gathered in Ivory Coast and Ghana is not published or not easily available. Therefore this information is not accessible to other producing countries.”
World Cocoa Conference, June 2014, Amsterdam
The coffee sector is in many ways comparable to the cocoa industry, but there are big differences, too. Both cocoa and coffee are cash crops (for export) and typically grown by smallholder farmers in developing countries. The yields from these thousands of farmers are then shipped to coffee roasters or chocolate factories, mainly in Europe and the US. The big difference, however, is that the cocoa production struggles to keep up with the rising demand, while the price of coffee has dropped dramatically due to overproduction. “We want to come up with strategic research agendas for both sectors”, says Ingram. This year provides some excellent opportunities to set those agendas: from June 9 to 13, cocoa researchers from all over the world will come together in Amsterdam for the second World Cocoa Conference and coffee professionals will meet at the ICO Coffee Seminar 2014 in London on Tuesday 4th March 2014.
Please take the survey
Are you working in coffee or cocoa? Please take the survey, it only takes around 15 minutes.