Bengaluru to host World Coffee Conference for first time

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Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and S. Selvakumar, Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Karnataka, unveiling the logo, theme, and highlights of World Coffee Conference 2023, in Bengaluru on July 31, 2023.

Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and S. Selvakumar, Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries Department, Government of Karnataka, unveiling the logo, theme, and highlights of World Coffee Conference 2023, in Bengaluru on July 31, 2023.
| Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Bengaluru is all set to host the 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC), a property of the London-based International Coffee Organisation (ICO), set up under the auspices of the United Nations to highlight the economic importance of coffee grown around the globe.

It is for the first time that India and Asia are hosting this prestigious global coffee event and Coffee Board is currently in the last leg of preparation to host the four-day coffee exposition that is commencing in the City on September 25.

Vibrant eco-system

K.G. Jagadeesha, Coffee Board CEO and Secretary, told The Hindu that India receiving the ICO nod to host this mega coffee event itself was the biggest recognition the country received as a major producer of finest coffees with a supportive and vibrant ecosystem. “To make it unique, vibrant and memorable, the board has the active support of 16 coffee committees with each outfit coming with 25 different stakeholders,’‘ he said.

However, he observed, even though the country produced the best quality coffees, Indian coffees are yet to be perceived well and this edition of WCC was going to correct this mismatch.

Perception battle

“Our robusta, with its undisputed quality, is the best and finest in the world. Our arabica, although considered as second best in the world, fetches a premium on par with Columbian arabia which is rated the finest in the world. What eventually matters is the perception. Columbia has done huge consumer campaigns,” he further said. Our coffee exports are currently over $1 billion. As an immediate incremental effect of the WCC, the Coffee Board is expecting an increase in exports volume and value growth of 10 to 15% for our coffees in the international markets, he anticipated. This will eventually help India build a stand-alone coffee brand in global markets, Dr. Jagadeesha added.

The WCC exposition is expected to boost India’s domestic coffee market as well in terms of receiving more focus on technology, investments, entrepreneurship, employment generation and creation of coffee varieties to offer customers a wide range of choice.

Expected to be big draw

Some 2,400 people, including coffee growers, roasters, curers, exporters, traders, cafe chain owners, retailers, have already registered to attend WCC. This will comprise over 300 foreign delegates from 60 countries. Some 40 global CEOs and 50 Indian CEOs are participating in the coffee conference. In addition to this, Coffee Board has already distributed 36,000 business delegates while another 15,000 similar passes will also be distributed/sold.

The government has permitted Coffee Board to use ₹12.5 crore plus GST from its internal budget to host WCC, while half of the money will be spent by the industry players.

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