THE YEAR-end Diplomasi Kopi or Coffee Diplomacy Talk which was held on Wednesday (12/28) with the theme “Maintaining Indonesia’s Coffee Strategic Sovereignty” presented several senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and guided by Digra Foundation CEO Jamaluddin Malik from Fostrab (National Direction Strategic Forum) and journalists at Diagra Coffee & Eatery, Cilandak, Jakarta.

According to Bagas Hapsoro, former Ambassador to Sweden and Latvia, he reminded again that coffee diplomacy defends the interests of the people. Diplomacy is an activity that carries and fights for the interests of the people and the state.

“This method is carried out by representing, protecting, approaching, negotiating, promoting, reporting and enhancing cooperative relations. Coffee is part of economic diplomacy. There are elements of trade, exports and so on,” said Bagas.

Coffee also, he continued, has a strategic position in culture. Considering that coffee is an important part of the ecosystem, the environment also needs to be protected. While the prospects for coffee remain promising, no one should underestimate the challenges; starting from environmental issues, sustainability, human rights, health, competition, quality demands and labeling.

The former Indonesian Ambassador added that diplomacy should not only be focused on the economy and culture but also ecosystems or the environment. If you only prioritize economic factors without sustainability, then Indonesian coffee will decrease both in terms of productivity and quality.

Furthermore, he was also reminded that Indonesia should not become a net coffee importer. Bagas stated that the coffee diplomacy program had been included starting two years ago into the task of a team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Team for the Acceleration and Economic Recovery is considered very important given the outbreak of COVID-19. Not only is it tasked with promoting overseas, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has included coffee lessons in the education and training curriculum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, Prayono Atiyanto, Staff Expert Ambassador/Diplomat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is also the former Indonesian Ambassador to Azerbaijan added that it is time for all elements of the nation to think about KOPI not Coffee. KOPI is a form of nationalism, even though Indonesia has a variety of types and names of coffee from each region.

He added, diplomats who study and study coffee are coffee warriors. The reason is that like the dignity of a diplomat, the diplomat promotes and “sells”. The Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has a network of 131 networks overseas. This network is the representative office of the Republic of Indonesia abroad.

“Indonesia has 131 representatives around the world which are divided into: 94 Indonesian Embassies, 30 Indonesian Consulates and 4 Indonesian Consulates. They are tasked with helping and facilitating the down streaming of coffee abroad,” he added.

In particular, Prayono continued, according to the direction of Indonesian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mahendra Siregar in 2021, diplomatic efforts need to be focused on efforts to increase Indonesia’s specialty coffee exports. This is important to encourage synergy and coordination from upstream to downstream and encourage the participation of all stakeholders in an inclusive manner.

Prayono also explained the importance of a digital platform called Indonesia-Latin America and the Caribbean (INA LAC) which was officially launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in 2020. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing this platform to be wider than the South American and Caribbean Regions to the Americas and Europe Regions .

The INA Access platform is shared property and can be used by all parties related to the promotion of trade, investment and tourism. Business actors (exhibitors) can join for free without any fees.

The presence of the INA-ACCESS Platform seeks to create opportunities for users of Indonesian business actors and the Amerop Region. The INA-Europa Forum business has generated a business value of US$6.8 million.

On the same occasion, Djumantoro Purbo, former Indonesian Ambassador to Slovakia stated the need for knowledge in the field of culture and local wisdom.

“Coffee does not only have economic value but also socio-cultural value. The trend of coffee consumption will last a long time because it is rooted in culture,” said this senior diplomat. The Slovak state has been searching for identity with economic growth. When the economy rose, an elite group was born with a social status – drinking civet coffee was very luxurious, like a five-star hotel.

“This can be used to represent Indonesian coffee, because Kopi Luwak can become Indonesian identity,” Djumantoro concluded.

At the end of the conversation, these three keynote speakers agreed that coffee was increasingly relevant to be discussed at a time when all countries could not avoid recession and food insecurity. Food security must be strong, with coffee the farmers are prosperous and with better environmental management.

Indonesia can learn from Colombia to popularize specialty coffee. In the 70s and 80s, the Colombian government raised its coffee production target from commercial coffee to specialty coffee. Now, Colombia has become one of the best specialty coffee producers in the world. The narrative about specialty coffee is therefore enhanced, with the quality of the soil and health aspects highlighted.

People who drink specialty coffee need stories on how the coffee is produced, where baristas can pave the way to have Indonesian specialty coffee promoted; starting from coffee samples then potentially increasing to orders that are worth thousands of tons.

“We need to show the origins of Indonesian specialty coffee and focus on its diversity. Of course, quality packaging cannot be ignored. Thus, an Indonesian coffee customer abroad can imagine sitting on the beach while sipping Bali Kintamani or simply enjoying the view while drinking Toraja Coffee,” they remarked. []