By K.R. Chapman, Plant Production Officer (Industrial Crops), FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. Thailand
Dr. Sonthad Rojanasoonthan, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr. Pablo Dubois, of the International Coffee Organisation, Distinguished Guests and Participants, Delegates, Members of the Royal Project Foundation, and colleagues of the Organising Committee, for this the First Asian Regional Round Table on Sustainable Organic/Specialty Coffee Production, Processing and Marketing.
It is my privilege and pleasure as the FAO Plant Production Officer (Industrial Crops) for Asia and the Pacific, and a major sponsor of this gathering, to welcome you to our meeting today.
Some 6 months ago when we began with this meeting initiative, I knew we would need the help of old friends in Thailand to make it happen. Dr. Suranant Subhadrabandhu, Secretary of the Organising Committee, quickly offered to help seek the assistance of the Royal Project Foundation and His Serene Highness Prince Bhisetej Rajani. Thanks to their untiring support and generosity, and that of our Chairman Dr. Sontad, and the Organising Committee members drawn from the Department of Agriculture, Kasetsart and Chiang Mai Universities, we are here today with the First Round Table on Sustainable Organic/Specialty Coffee for Asia about to begin. Thank you all!
We have chosen to emphasise Sustainable, Organic and Specialty coffee, because unless we produce coffee in a sustainable way there will be no coffee industry in maybe another generation or so in many countries. The clear purpose of this meeting is to find ways to add value and quality to the coffee produced, derive a better deal for smallholder coffee producers throughout the region, and preserve the resource base, so that we do achieve a sustainable coffee economy in the long term. Organic and Specialty coffee can play a part in this process. In short we are here not just to talk, but to Make it Happen!
We want your valuable inputs and contributions, so that we can make it happen and while making you feel most welcome, we do have an ulterior motive. So please do participate to the fullest in our discussions and activities and enjoy your stay in Thailand. If we can help in any way to make your stay more enjoyable, please let us know. We trust you will derive considerable benefit and enjoyment from the meeting.
Thank you for being with us.