Our approach is based on three foundational elements.
This is concerned with the integration and balance of the sector:
- the whole sector is taken as an integrated system, within the context of the country’s agricultural development agenda
- identifying how to bring greater integration among the institutions and organisations operating in the sector
- analysing how each part influences and impacts the others
- identifying any areas of imbalance in the system, so that these can be addressed with appropriate action, in order that the sector as an integrated system works better
- working towards building capacity within existing institutions to respond to the rapid changes in the industry, and to do so on a sustainable basis.
- assessing areas of systemic risk, in order to identify precautionary measures which may be needed.
This is concerned with the dynamics of the relationships in the sector:
- building commonality of purpose and values within the system (shared vision)
- analysing and developing the relationships between key stakeholders within the system
- building mutual respect – parity which does not deny authority, but recognises the unique and important contribution that each group of stakeholders has to make
- drawing on the breadth and depth of knowledge within the system, and how this can be effectively applied for the benefit of the whole. This does not deny the importance of applying science and technology to the issues, but the tacit knowledge in the system may be overlooked at considerable cost.
- recognising the story line of relationships within the system, how this has developed in the past, how it is impacting the present, and the expectations for the future
- working towards improving communications between stakeholders – institutions and individuals – throughout the system
Scientific and technical thinking
There are enormous resources of scientific and technical information available to the coffee industry. Most countries in Africa have a considerable depth of expertise in most areas of production, processing and marketing. These resources may be held in institutions which have not been designed for their dissemination. Some resources may have been lost or damaged due to civil unrest. These resources are not therefore available to stakeholders when and where needed. Facilitating access to this expertise is the third foundational element. This includes:
- planting material and propagation of new improved varieties
- pest and disease control
- productivity enhancement measures/good agricultural practice
- coffee quality
- planning and logistics
- marketing – opportunities and constraints
- short and long-term trends and changes in the market