Event topics

[Experience Economy] Bolstering ties through coffee diplomacy
Kind: Event topics  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2020-05-25 15:22
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Coffee-drinking has grown in popularity in Taiwan in recent years, and consumers are placing greater importance on the quality of their coffee beans and where they come from. For instance, in 2019 the convenience store chain Family Mart began promoting premium fair-trade coffee products, whose beans were sourced in Guatemala and Honduras, two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Latin American.

Coffee is one of Guatemala’s most important exports. According to Guatemalan coffee industry association Anacafé, Taiwan is the 11th largest export market for Guatemalan coffee. And as coffee-drinking has grown in popularity in Taiwan, so have imports of Guatemalan coffee, from US$350,000 in 2000 to more than US$11 million last year.

With its diverse terrain and climate, Guatemala produces a wide range of unique-tasting coffees. Under the slogan “A Rainbow of Choice,” Anacafé classifies Guatemalan coffee into eight distinct categories based on the region where it is grown.

The Guatemalan government actively promotes the country’s coffee industry. In the 1880s, coffee accounted for nearly 90 percent of the Guatemala’s total exports, and the nation’s coffee production was tops in Central America. However, most of the profits from coffee exports went to multinational firms. Therefore, non-governmental organizations began promoting fair trade coffee, under which coffee beans are purchased directly from farmers, allowing them to earn more profit from their labors.

In recent years, Honduras, located between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, has ranked first in Central America in coffee production. It is the world’s sixth largest coffee producer and among the top ten exporters. Although Honduran coffee exports to Taiwan are relatively small, they have begun growing in recent years, with the increase in 2019 reaching 11 percent.

The main variety of coffee bean produced in Honduras is Arabica. More than 90 percent of Honduran coffee is exported to Europe and the United States. The top three export markets are Germany, Belgium and the U.S., accounting for more than half of sales.

Taiwan and Honduras have close exchanges on coffee. Last year, Taiwan sent an expert to the country to provide guidance on ways to boost the local sector’s added value and exports. In addition, a delegation of Taiwan coffee enterprise and industry association reps visited Honduras to gain a better understanding of the local coffee industry. Also, as part of efforts to boost agricultural exchanges, Taiwan Sugar Corp. has introduced Honduran highland small farmer coffee into Taiwan.

If you get the chance, give Guatemalan and Honduran coffee a try. You’ll enjoy the unique, rich taste, while also helping to bolster Taiwan’s ties with friendly nations.

Update: 2020-04-17
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