Organization: Burundi Coffee Sector Authority
Name: Mr. DUSHIME Alain Gildas
Name of the program: Strengthening the Export Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Coffee Producers
Program period: September 11-October 13, 2017
Knowledge Co-Creation Program “Strengthening the Export Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Coffee Producers” that was held every year since 2010 has come to an end. At the time of inauguration, JICA Tokyo was implementing this program, but since 2013, JICA Kansai has been hosting this program and has accepted participants from many coffee producing countries. This is because there are many companies involved in importing and selling coffee in Kobe (which has been said to be the place where coffee first entered in Japan) where JICA Kansai is situated. In the closing ceremony for this program, Mr. DUSHIME Alan Gildas of Burundi gave a speech representing the group. Please read his speech which has the rich aroma and taste as coffee.
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed an honor and a great pleasure for me to deliver the closing ceremony speech on behalf of the participants of the 2017 Strengthening the Export Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Coffee Producers Program, organized by JICA in collaboration with CDC.
First of all, let me start by expressing my sincere gratitude to all the JICA Officials, to CDC international Corporation and the Coordination Team for this unique opportunity, and for the high level professionalism that we have experienced during the entire traininig. Our sincere gratitude also goes to Mr Philip SUGAI from Doshisha University and Mr KURAMOCHI from MARUBENI Foods for their help with our Action Plans.
One cannot deny the importance of coffee for producing as well as consuming countries. Coffee has a large share in the economies of our countries. It feeds the farmer’s family, it empowers the coffee sector stakeholders, and it is a mean to conflict’s resolutions in some places and even a mean to ensure environmental sustainability in others.
During our program, we got the opportunity to interact with all kinds of coffee market stakeholders. This provided us with an insight of the Japanese market from a wide range of perspectives. We realized that coffee was more than just a beverage; it is an experience, an offer, a rite of passage, a good excuse to get together. Above all this, we realized that a cup of coffee always carries a powerful story. It can be a painful story of farmers struggling to make ends meet like in Jamaica; it can be a story of a young nation doing its best to make it to the top like East Timor; it can be a story of people doing their best to protect nature like in Ethiopia, or the story of a nation reborn with the hope of a second sunrise like Rwanda.
These are powerful stories that must be communicated and shared with the end consumer; for our strength lies within us, in our origins.
During our month long stay, coffee isn’t the only thing that caught our attention. We actually got to see a whole new world, a whole new way of life. Never before, had we seen such a strong sense of loyalty, strong commitment and hard work to name a few. Japan and its people are truly unique.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to JICA and CDC for the great cooperation in successfully carrying out this program. I believe that this program is beneficial for both of our countries and that it will help us keep and develop even stronger ties. And I do believe I am speaking for everyone, when I say that we just can’t wait to put into practice the acquired knowledge.
And I assure you that we will do our best to successfully implement our Action Plans in our respective countries and hopefully contribute to the strengthening of the export competitiveness of our coffee.
Last but not the least, I would like to thank all of the JICA staff, the Front Desk Staff, the housekeepers, the Cafeteria Staff, to name a few, for all the care, the hospitality and daily support they showed us.
It was greatly appreciated and I extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to each one and all.
May long live Japan!!!
And may long live the cooperation between our countries!!!
Thank you so much! Arigato gozaimasu!
Alan and other participants of this program believed that their coffee is the best before coming to Japan. But, after discussion with coffee experts in Japan and experiencing the quality comparison with coffee other than participating countries in the program, it seems that they came to realize the issue and the strength of their coffee.
They learned the importance of letting consumers know the story of coffee including its originality and production. They left Japan with high motivation. We are looking forward to the progress report on their action plan to be implemented after their return.
Edited by YOKOTANI Kimie, Program Division 1, JICA Kansai