Making Ethiopian coffee more inclusive, and sustainable: A new public-private partnership to benefit farmers and consumers

MILAN, 4 May 2015 – World-renowned Italian coffee house illycaffè, the Ernesto Illy Foundation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have agreed to join forces to make the value chain of Ethiopian coffee more inclusive and more sustainable, which will benefit farmers and consumers alike.

To officialize the announcement, Andrea Illy, Chairman and CEO of illycaffè, Anna Illy, Vice President of the Ernesto Illy Foundation, and UNIDO Managing Director Philippe Scholtès will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Coffee Cluster of the Milan EXPO 2015, under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Mebrathu Meles, State Minister of the Ethiopian Ministry of Industry, and Luca Zelioli, Head of the Multilateral Development Cooperation Office (DGCS) at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The public-private partnership seeks to create shared value for all stakeholders: by using the best technologies to produce and share Ethiopian coffee with the world, it will pursue both development and business objectives in a sustainable manner. As such, and through joint activities that will take place within the framework of the UNIDO project “Improving the Sustainability and Inclusiveness of the Ethiopian Coffee Value Chain through Private and Public Partnership”, efforts to improve the quality and production capacity will be made to increase the income of smallholder farmers (derived from sustainable production, processing and marketing), thus to foster local economic development and subsequently achieve international recognition.

Furthermore, this partnership showcases UNIDO’s partnership approach and its concrete working model on how to cooperate with public and private partners to promote supply chains in the context of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID), as well as to align with the post-2015 development agenda and the related Sustainable Development Goal on Industry (SDG9). Indeed, and at the very outset, illycaffè, the Ernesto Illy Foundation and UNIDO concurred to shared commitments to the highest ethical standards, with the aim of improving the quality of life for all stakeholders by creating value for all parties - from coffee growers to the consumers. Ultimately, the project, which is funded by the Italian Development Cooperation, will support thousands of Ethiopian small coffee growers and their families in their sustainable path to prosperity.

Ethiopia is one of the priority countries for the Italian Development Cooperation, which will continue to contribute to global poverty alleviation and help developing countries in improving the living conditions of their populations. Concretely, the project foresees that Ethiopian coffee smallholder farmers and cooperatives will be assisted through the introduction of Best Agronomical Practices (BAP) to improve yields and technical skills. At the same time, practical tool boxes for optimized post-harvest processes, washing stations infrastructures, laboratories and the dissemination of modern marketing techniques will be provided. The project will operate across the entire value chain to increase its social, environmental and economic sustainability and, by extension, its export revenues. It will also introduce effective cluster and sustainable supplier development models, including the “Illy Responsible Supply Chain Process Certification”, which will be used as a reference framework for strengthening Ethiopian suppliers.

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee; the country has a longstanding tradition and affection for coffee. At the same time, coffee is economically very relevant as over 20 million Ethiopians depend on its production and sales.

This new public-private partnership seamlessly integrates in the Ethiopia Programme for Country Partnership (PCP), which was recently developed by UNIDO to bring together investors and specialists to support the country’s progress towards becoming a middle-income country by the year 2025.

For more information about illycaffè www.illy.com
For more information about the Ernesto Illy Foundation www.fondazioneilly.org
For more information on the UNIDO-illycaffè -Ernesto Illy Foundation partnership and the Project initiative please contact:
Aurelia Calabrò
Chief, UNIDO Agro-Industries Technology Unit

For more information on UNIDO, please contact:
Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Advocacy and Communication Coordinator
Telephone: (+43-1)-26026-5021
Mobile: +43-699-1459-7329