Last May, several of the Canadian members of Coop Coffees had the pleasure of hosting CEPICAFE founder and manager Santiago Paz during his North America visit for the annual SCAA conference. This year, he's back for one of the largest and most renowned food trade shows in the world: the SIAL Montreal. To our delight, Coop Coffees will benefit yet again from Santiago's visit to the Great North with visits to roaster members and allies.
In January, CEPICAFE – one of Coop Coffee’s producer partners in Piura, Peru – was invited to participate in the world renowned SIAL Montreal Food Trade Show. Santiago López,Paz commercial manager CEPICAFE – who visited many of our Canadian members last May around the time of the SCAA – will be among 550 other exhibitors at the “leading international food trade show in Canada” taking place in Montreal, April 1 - 3.
The annual event welcomes producers and suppliers from 60 different countries to exhibit and promote their products to over 12,000 North American buyers. Being able to participate in such a high-profile trade show is one of the best ways to gain greater access to the North American market, especially for smaller farmer groups who don’t have an automatic “in” to one of the largest and most competitive markets in the world.
The invitation to participate came on behalf of the Trade Facilitation Office of Canada (TFO Canada) – a non-profit corporation that assists exporters from developing and transition economy countries in gaining information on and exposure to the Canadian market. In December 2008, a project manager from TFO Canada toured Peru with the objective of selecting producer organizations to which TFO could offer greater promotional services. The invitation to participate in the SIAL Montreal was one of the ways the Canadian organization would support the selected groups. After interviews and observation, only two organizations were selected, CEPICAFE being one of them.
TFO Canada will be collaborating with PromPerú, the country’s Export and Tourism Promotion Board to arrange other marketing opportunities for Santiago during his stay in Canada. And of course, Coop Coffees, as well as our network of allies and friends, is thrilled to welcome Santiago after such a successful and fun tour in 2008.This year, the plan is to get him up to visit Bean North, our northernmost partner (by far!) in Whitehorse, Yukon – quite a different scene from the commercial madness scheduled for the beginning of his trip... and a different world completely from his home in semi-arid Piura.
After a couple weeks of touring and promoting CEPICAFE and their diverse gamut of organic products, Santiago will fly down to Atlanta, GA to participate in the SCAA Conference and the Coop Coffees’ gathering and celebration in Americus. With that kind of itinerary, he’ll be sure to have plenty of stories to tell and hopefully, many opportunities to further promote the work of CEPICAFE and by extension, thousands of coffee, fruit, and sugar farmers all over Peru.