German multinational the Bosch Group (www.Bosch.com) hosted the ground breaking 1st International Coffee Processing and Packaging Round Table in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Friday.
It featured representatives from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), several industrial and agricultural institutions, big business, SMEs, farmers, civil society as well as local and international aid agencies in a strategic bid to enhance food security.
The discussion sought to increase localisation to enhance food security in the region while looking to improve the quality of life for citizens through stimulating economic growth in one of the country's key sectors. It further sought to bring key stakeholders together in a first step to increase local value addition and industrialisation.
Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of coffee with one in every five citizens presently involved in the industry.
The forum was held during the 3rd Annual Addis Agrofood Exhibition that took place from 27 to 29 November 2015. It was hosted by a business division of the Bosch Group, Bosch Packaging Technology, which is a global market leader.
Among the topics that were discussed, it included ways to increase coffee processing and packaging that is adequate for domestic, regional and export retail markets.
Other items to be discussed included the latest technology for roasting as well as for coffee growers, and technical solutions for advanced packaging.
Bosch Packaging Technology (http://www.BoschPackaging.com) has around 130 000 energy efficient packaging machines installed and running in 13 000 factories worldwide. It has a presence in 170 countries with its portfolio including 250 different machine types in 40 business sectors.
Its culture of doing business with a conscience led to the company's involvement in the United Nations' “Save Food” initiative since 2011. The programme aims to find solutions to global food losses and waste and ensure less food is lost en-route to customers and by customers themselves.
As a market leader, Bosch Packaging Technology allows food to be transported better over long distances for end users in emerging markets.
Dr. Markus Thill, the President of Bosch Africa, says in 2013 Bosch Packaging Technology received 77 000 global orders alone, explained: "As part of the Bosch Group we offer best-in-class technologies that are 'invented for life' in the truest sense. Our machines, solutions and services provide vital support to human health and nutrition - especially in emerging markets such as those in Africa."
He added: "And our machines are robust, long-lasting, easy-to-use and boast low energy consumption. This is why we believe that, together with key stakeholders, we can assist and support the development of the coffee sector in Ethiopia."
Ethiopia is a major player in the world coffee market. It is presently the sixth largest producer in the world, exporting over 150 000 tons a year. However, the country exports more than 90% of its raw commodity and thus it is unrefined, unprocessed and unpackaged. This means that the overwhelming majority of the profits are generated out of the country.
Now Bosch Packaging Technology is taking the lead in developing public-private partnerships to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and farmers to actively participate in the industry through processing, roasting, manufacturing, packaging and even distributing raw coffee.
Mr Vandan Rughani, Managing Director of Bosch East Africa continues: "We believe that technology is the best way that the coffee industry can move up the value chain in Ethiopia and compete globally. This is why UNIDO works with companies like Bosch to make this a reality. Bosch views this initiative as crucial to the progress of the African continent both in terms of economic development and sustainability as well as enhancing food security. It is a partnership as our business model is underpinned by creating long-term, sustainable solutions for emerging and developing markets."
He said that the round table is merely the first step to ensure Ethiopia maximises the country's coffee resources for greater socio-economic development.
"Agriculture accounts for almost half of the country's GDP. In addition, Ethiopia is one of Africa's fastest growing economies and now is the time for it to stimulate its micro and macro economies that benefits all its people. And technology helps in this regard."
Bosch is a leading global supplier of technology and services operating in over 150 countries and employing over 360 000 through its 440 subsidiaries and regional interests. What makes its business model unique is that 92% of the company is owned by a charitable foundation. This ensures that, rather than being profit-driven, its focus is on creating sustainable global solutions through conscientious investments.
Dr. Thill : "technology is made available to local entrepreneurs and farmers to improve food security, eradicate wastage and build new industries. We have already started supplying packaging machinery to local business people and farmers and co-operatives. This allows them to process and package local coffee and thus leverage growth throughout the value chain."
Mr Vandan Rughani concluded: "We believe a holistic approach will boost SMEs, stimulate job creation as well as additional opportunities and supplementary industries further down the value chain."