Keynote Speeches 2019

Certified coffee, good for the planet?

You crave coffee, go to the market and must choose between two options: fairtrade organic versus non-certified coffee. The first option costs few cents more, but as the conscious consumer you are, you decide to choose the first one. You go home happy with your coffee and satisfied for your positive impact in the world. Right?

Not so fast, consumer. Research findings from the Division of Bioeconomics at KU Leuven showed that Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) for food production, such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, might not deliver all the benefits they promise. By looking at economic and ecological indicators in two coffee producer countries, Ethiopia and Uganda, they discovered that VSS do bring positive effects but, for each benefit they bring, a drawback is generated: the famous trade-offs!


The flavour of good intention

Why chocolate? In 2018, chocolate consumption worth about 828 billion USD in USA. Per capita consumption was about 5.5kg and 8.5kg in USA and Germany, respectively. The main driver for such higher chocolate consumption in Europe comapred to the USA is the flavour. A keynote speaker, Carla Martin, Founder and Executive Director of The Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute said it is not just chocolate, “it is a flavour that has value”. “The best flavour shows status, enjoyment and so on but, farmers get less credit on it.” The best flavour of the food can be used as a factor to express originality and status. However, the question is are farmers getting the right profit value of their cacao?

IMG_2486 Youtube video: Carla shares her love & enthusiasm for cacao

The world has only 10 harvests more!

Shocking! You think? This was the reality shared by Jacques Wery, the Deputy Director and Director of Research of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Egypt; a keynote speaker at this year’s Tropentag.


Plant trees, change minds

You may have heard about rainmakers before, the ones whose influence can bring progress or success. Well, this story is about a forest maker: Tony Rinaudo. Like rainmakers, Tony has a magic touch, in his case to spread native trees in dry lands and bringing countless benefits to the local population. His work on Niger was so impressive that he was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize in 2018.

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