A few weeks ago on International Earth Day, in Turin, Italy, the Slow Food Coffee Coalition was launched. It is aimed at creating a robust international open network that will build a closer relationship of all participants in the coffee supply chain, from growers to roasters, to distributors and consumers, united by a love for the beverage and a desire for good, clean, and fair coffee for all.
Slow Food is a worldwide network of local communities founded about 30 years ago (1989) to counteract the disappearance of local food traditions and the spread of fast food culture. It is now present in 160 countries including Uganda and works so that we can all have access to good, clean and fair food. A Ugandan, Eddie Mukiibi, is the Slow Food vice president.
In the new coalition Slow Food is partnering with Lavazza Group in the effort to ensure that no groups along the value chain are exploited, particularly those who take care of the plants.
It is going to be a global network that believes in preserving the environment, safeguarding fundamental human and labour rights, transparency and traceability.
Among its objectives is to see farmers paid a fair price for their product, to see labour rights observed, and to see preservation of the natural environment. The coordinator of the coalition, Emanuele Dughera, has said in the press release, "We want to turn the spotlight from the cup to the earth where the coffee grows. This is not just a caffeinated beverage, but an agricultural product that contains a thousand nuances and which can still surprise us. This is why with the Slow Food Coffee Coalition we want to strive to ensure that on one hand the work of growers is recognised, and on the other that consumers can make choices with more awareness."
As a coffee producing country, the formation and launch of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition should be of interest to us since it strives to cause dialogue and collaboration and not competition between us as growers of the crop and the traders and multinationals which buy our product.
Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran journalist,