Kenya’s coffee sector in the COVID-19 context

  • 19th May 2020
  • by secretary
19 May 2020. WEBINAR Kenya’s coffee sector in the COVID-19 context: can producer agency be sustained? 2 pm CEST/CAT. Organised by IIED. This webinar is part of the ‘Empowering Producers In Commercial agriculture’ (EPIC) project. EPIC is funded by UK aid from the UK government (DFID) through its Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme.

Recording forthcoming

Vava Coffee began operations in 2009 and has a decade of rich experience of tackling barriers to an inclusive, fair and sustainable coffee sector. Vava Coffee is now facing unprecedented conundrums from COVID-19 as cancelled buyer contracts and reduction in order volumes raise questions over the resilience of ethical supply chains, SMEs and social enterprises in global agriculture value chains.

The webinar discussed what these changes mean for producers and debate strategies going forwards to sustain the progress in coffee producer agency made to date with a sharp focus on the work on women and youth.

  • Vava Angwenyi (see picture), Vava Coffee
    Vava Angwenyi is the founder of Vava Coffee, a B Corp certified social enterprise based in Kenya. For the past 10 years Vava Coffee has been building the capacities of coffee farmers to produce higher quality coffee and negotiate better prices, as well as facilitating direct relationships with buyers in consuming countries. Read the complete interview with the founder:
  • Brian Marare, young beneficiary of Vava Coffee’s mentorship and current intern farm manager at Vava Coffee, Kenya
  • Holly Kragiopolous, North Star Coffee Roasters, UK; a Vava Coffee buyer

An introduction to the webinar and the topic with perspectives from the panellists was followed by a facilitated discussion among webinar participants. The panelists considerer questions of interest to practitioners working on similar issues in different contexts such as:

  • How have women coffee farmers and youth entrepreneurs been successfully supported in their relationships with other value chain actors to secure more agency in the sector?
  • What conditions are needed to be in place for this work to be effective? What challenges remain?
  • What are the main implications of COVID-19 and government response measures to date for producer agency and the value chains they connect to?
  • In this rapidly changing context, how do social enterprises keep supporting their beneficiaries, in particular women and youth, to sustain progress made prior to COVID-19?
  • What challenges are foreseen in the coming period and how might we tackle them collectively as a global community?

The Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN) is a global initiative supporting the scaling and replication of inclusive business models. Through its strategic pillars iBAN blue and iBAN weave, iBAN manages the innovative online knowledge platform on inclusive business and offers a focused Capacity Development Programme for selected companies and policymakers in developing and emerging countries.

iBAN is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.