Bangalore to host coffee festival next month

Updated: Jan 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
After the just concluded CII partnership summit 2002, Bangalore is gearing up for yet another major international event - India International Coffee Festival (IICF). The festival, jointly organised by the Coffee Board and United Planters of South India (UPASI), is the first concerted move to carve out a brand name for Indian coffee in the global market.

Addressing a press conference, IICF convenor Anil Kumar Bhandari said so far “we were only selling the coffee; this is the first attempt to market it.”

The three-day IICF to be held from February 15 to 17 is taking place in the background of an unprecedented price crash for coffee all over the world. The price of coffee currently reeling under a 30-year low is unlikely to revive in the near future as the market is still dominated by a demand-supply mismatch.

But the organisers dismissed the doubts expressed by critics about hosting the festival while the growers are facing one of the worst situation. “The festival is sponsored by corporates and organised on a shoe-string budget of Rs 60-70 lakh. We are not taking any money from the growers,” said Mr Bhandari.

The board, UPASI and others connected with the coffee sector feel that this is the right moment to establish a distinct identity for the Indian coffee at the international level.

Though India has a long history of coffee plantations, many of the major buyers in Europe and the US are still unaware of the Indian coffee as a distinct brand, says Mr Bhandari.

This would bring together all stakeholders in the coffee sector - growers, exporters, equipment manufacturers and coffee importers - together. The main events of the festival will be seminar sessions, buyer-seller meets, exhibition besides a high profile ‘flavour of India’ competition to select the 12 best Indian coffees.

The seminar sessions would cover subjects ranging from coffee in India - current perspectives and future directions, profile of key coffee markets, the world of special and speciality coffees, new frontiers in retailing, coffee and health. Besides this, there will be special country focus on Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producer. The prominent people who have already confirmed their participation include Speciality Coffee Association of Europe president Mick Wheeler, Speciality Coffee Association of America president Danny O Niell, European Coffee Federation secretary general Roel Vaessen and National Coffee Association of USA president Robert Nelson.