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Published on The Jakarta Post (http://www.thejakartapost.com)

A bitter future: People could pay more for coffee


The Jakarta Post | Sun, 09/19/2010 5:50 PM | Adianto P. Simamora Coffee lovers may soon need to dig deeper into their pockets to enjoy a cup of coffee in coffee shops ranging from global brands such as Starbucks, or even traditional street side warung kopi (coffee shop). This is because negotiators from 193 nations are looking to adopt the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources. This protocol, if adopted, would allow countries to claim royalties on their genetic resources, including coffee. The problem is that coffee is not native to Indonesia, the worlds fourth-largest producer of the bean. It was initially brought here from Brazil or South Africa by the Dutch. The country of origin of genetic resources, including coffee, will therefore be among the hottest topics on the agenda at an international conference on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month, Hary Alexander, one of 70 negotiators Indonesia will send to the conference, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday. After years of intensive talks, negotiators remain at odds on benefit sharing in the Nagoya Protocol. Developed nations, which have long been users of genetic resources from developing countries, want benefit sharing calculations to take effect from when the Nagoya protocol is adopted. Some countries proposed the benefit sharing be calculated before 1992, when the UN Convention on Biological Diversity was set up. Indonesia, a country with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, has proposed that all calculations on benefit sharing be made after 1992. If the conference agrees on calculations made before 1992, we have to pay high royalties, including for coffee, palm oil or sugarcane, Hary said. The royalties would be paid to the country of origin of the genetic resource. He said the genetic sources of coffee, palm oil or sugarcane were from Brazil or South Africa but that many of our businesspeople remain unaware about the threat. Indonesia is struggling to adapt to the protocol. The benefit sharing could be in the form of money, capacity building or technology transfers.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/print/278620

12/1/2010

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Environment Ministry official Utami Andayani said many foreign researchers took samples of genetic resources from plants, animals or microorganisms from Indonesia, home to 10 percent of the worlds flowering plant species and 12 percent of all mammals. Many of Indonesias species and more than half of the archipelagos plant species are endemic, not found anywhere else on Earth. But with massive forest loss from illegal logging, forest conversion and forest fires, 140 species of birds and 63 species of mammals are categorized as threatened.

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http://www.thejakartapost.com/print/278620

12/1/2010