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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Minas Gerais Dominates the 12th illycaffè Awards

BRAZIL - Minas Gerais took back the leadership position among the best coffee producers in the country, winning First Place in the Brazilian Quality Coffee for Espresso Awards, offered annually by the Italian coffee roaster illycaffè. The winner is Paulo Takano, from Patrocínio, which is 338 km from Belo Horizonte (MG). The state, the traditional winner of the award, regained the domination it lost last year when producers from Sao Paulo took 1st, 3rd and 9th positions.

This year, nine of the ten top prizewinners are from Minas Gerais - the exception being 7th place, which was won by a producer from Bahia.

The winners were:

  1. Paulo Takano: Patrocínio - MG
  2. Sebastiao Wenceslau Rodrigues: Manhuacu - MG
  3. Paulo Augusto Caran Nascif: Araponga - MG
  4. Jose Clenio Pereira: Cristina - MG
  5. Ceci Maria de Faria: Manhuacu - MG
  6. Cid da Cunha Fernandes: Carmo do Paranaíba - MG
  7. Realeza Construcoes e Empreendimentos: Mucugê - BA
  8. Rodrigo Goncalves Sobreira: Caratinga - MG
  9. Walter Cesar Dutra: Manhuaçu - MG
  10. Rui Barbosa Heringer: Manhuacu - MG

In addition to placing first, the cerrado mineiro showed its strength by taking 6th place, with the municipality of Carmo do Paranaiba - 269 km from Belo Horizonte. Zona da Mata (Minas Gerais) coffees received the greatest distinction: no less than six of the ten are from the region, from the municipalities of Araponga (169 km from BH), Caratinga (188 km from BH) and Manhuaçu (202 km from BH). The southern part of the state, with the municipality of Cristina (295 km from BH), completes the set of major winners. The tests to determine the 10 highest classifications were conducted by Brazilian and Italian specialists, as well as the president of illycaffè, Ernesto Illy.

Registrations for the 12 Brazilian Quality Coffee for Espresso Awards beat the record: 815 samples were registered, coming from Paraná, São Paulo (Sorocabana and Mogiana regions), Minas Gerais (cerrado mineiro, southern Minas and Zona da Mata), Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro (for the first time in the history of the awards), Goiás (Cerrado region) and Bahia (Chapada Diamantina and cerrado baiano, among other municipalities), topping by 38% the 2001 total.

The awards totaling $101,000 were divided in the following manner: $30,000 to first place; $20,000 - second place; $10,000 - third place; $5,000 - fourth place and $3,000 - fifth place. Sixth through tenth place received $1,000 while those who placed from 11th to 50th received $700.

The Brazilian Quality Coffee for “Espresso” Awards, created by illycaffè in 1991, was the first large-scale initiative to stimulate changes in the mentality of the national coffee industry. Through its 12 consecutive years it has reached its objectives, including helping to develop productive regions in the country such as southern Minas, Cerrado and Zona da Mata, Pirajú and Mogiana in São Paulo, southern Bahia, Espírito Santo and other states.

Historical Tea Association Forms in Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA - Six key stakeholders in Sri Lanka’s tea industry have formed a federation as a pan-industry apex body, believed to be the first of its kind by a major tea producing country, a senior minister announced recently.

The Tea Association of Sri Lanka (TASL) is intended to transform the 135-year-old industry into a truly global force and facilitate a greater private sector role in strategy formulation and implementation, Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

The minister told a news conference the association, representing tea producers, traders, exporters, smallholders, private factory owners and brokers, would in its initial stages be funded largely through the on-going Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported Plantation Reform Project (PRP) and the proposed Plantation Development Project (PDP).

He said an analysis of the success of other national industries in the global market, such as Colombian coffee, South African wine, Dutch floriculture and Indian software had clearly shown the need for an industry-run apex body to develop common long term strategy, coordinate industry efforts to meet the needs of this strategy, provide inputs to policymakers and run industry efforts such as trade and consumer promotion, research and product development, in the context of a global market.

“The Sri Lankan tea industry is one of the biggest in the world, and a vital element of the national economy,” Minister Kiriella said. “However, the industry comprises multiple stakeholder groups with diverse interests and differing priorities. The success of implementing any common long term strategy will lie in the ability of the industry to work together with an apex body to spearhead activities.”

TASL Chairman Rohan Fernando said the association comprising the Planters Association of Ceylon (PA) of which he is chairman, the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA), the Tea Exporters’ Association (TEA), Sri Lanka Federation of Tea Small Holdings Development Societies (SLFTSHDS), Private Tea Factory Owners’ Association (PTFOA) and the Colombo Brokers’ Association (CBA) had developed implementation and funding plans up to 2006.

He said the initial tasks of the association would be to promote Ceylon Tea globally, develop market intelligence, and leverage quality through a quality certification program with the establishment of certification infrastructure. The TASL would also be involved in strategy and policy development and be a catalyst for product development and research. Funding plans for the first five years of the TASL’s operations envisage an investment of about Rs 200 million, largely from donor funds but with an increasing contribution from the Tea Cess and fee-based activities in the longer term, Fernando disclosed.

Listing some of the other functions of the association, he said the TASL would facilitate strategic alliances and collaborate with supporting institutions such as the Tea Research Institute (TRI), Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Tea Smallholdings Development Authority to ensure alignment with industry needs. The TASL also plans to be the conduit for the establishment of a market intelligence and promotion center, for e-trading, to establish liaisons with non governmental organizations to raise awareness on international codes of conduct and for certification standards relating to social, welfare and environmental conditions.

“It has taken this industry more than a century to take this logical step of harnessing the synergies of all stakeholders towards a common goal,” Fernando pointed out. “We feel it is about time the industry united to put Ceylon Tea firmly on the world map in generic terms as well as in brand terms.”

He said the establishment of a “Ceylon Standard” quality certification program and the implementation of national and international communications plans were expected to be key elements of this effort to establish and reinforce the image of Ceylon tea globally.

Tea & Coffee - June/July, 2003


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