SOURCE: Colombian Coffee Growers Federation

Colombian Coffee Growers Federation

June 26, 2013 16:49 ET

Colombia Increases the Number of Sustainable Coffee Producers Endorsed by International Seals of Approval

During the First Quarter of 2013, a Total of 162,039 Colombian Coffee Producers Were Producing Coffee Under Certifications and Verifications From Different Sustainability Standards

Offering Specialty Colombian Coffees of Quality and Distinction Is One of the Main Achievements Over Recent Years

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA--(Marketwired - Jun 26, 2013) -  As a result of the joint work between producers and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, increasingly more coffee growers grow and sell their grain following international sustainability standards, such as Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, Fair Trade and 4C, among others, with the consequential economic, social and environmental benefits for their families, their communities and the world.

One of the key strategic areas of added value in which the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation ("FNC by its Spanish acronym") focuses heavily is to increase the presence and participation of Colombian specialty coffees in domestic and international markets, in line with growing demand.

Taking part in competitions on an international scale, actively participating in major renown industry events -- such as specialty coffee fairs and barista competitions -- as well as expanding the Juan Valdez® coffee stores in Colombia and worldwide have been essential in the last ten years to generate demand and interest for specialty coffees.

At the same time, a new strategy has been developed that is equal or more complex from the point of view of supply, so that Colombian producers -- individually or as part of an association, with the exporters participation and the Federation itself -- can be seen as viable suppliers in these demanding markets.

Thanks to this effort by the producers, the Coffee Growers Committees, the Extension Service and the Federation, they have managed to leverage the necessary resources, together with entities in the country and abroad, to implement successful strategies so that producers from all coffee growing departments can increasingly access quality and sustainability overprices, recognized by Colombian coffee customers worldwide.

These efforts, accompanied in the coffee plantations by the Federation's Extension Service, have enabled, in the first quarter of this year, 162,039 producers to be verified and/or certified as organic coffee or by Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, 4C, Nespresso AAA and/or Starbucks CAFE Practices. At the end of 2007, 24,372 farms met these standards, which means the number of coffee growers involved in these initiatives continues to increase at a rapid pace. Year 2012 closed with 129,184 farms verified and/or certified under one of the standards.

This evident growth reflects the solidness of the coffee growers institutional framework, which not only includes technical assistance by the Extension Service, but also a purchase guarantee, scientific research by Cenicafé and quality control, logistics and traceability by Almacafé, entities which encourage coffee growers to more actively participate in the different specialty coffee programs.

Andrés Valencia, the Federation's Commercial Manager, reminds us that each of the different seals of verification and certification, further strengthen, to a more or less extent, the three pillars or principles of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.

"All seals of approval increase prices, which encourage the coffee grower to participate and guarantee that these programs can be sustained over time, as there are investments involved," states Valencia. "In addition, all programs have an educational element attached, in which the coffee growers, through training by the Extension Service, become more familiar with the topics of interest according to the seal of approval in which they participate."

One of the other big added values of the Federation regarding specialty coffee is that the commercial manager takes on the task of finding the clients who pay more for these products.

"This increase in the verifications and certifications goes hand in hand with an increase in the volume of sustainable coffee sold by the Federation. One cannot grow if it does not sell," states Valencia. "As commercial managers, we focus our efforts on ensuring the supply by these verified or certified farms can meet the demand of seals of approval required by the market."

In addition to the huge progress made regarding verified and/or certified producers, we are reminded that with its "Sustainability that matters" policy, the Federation promotes sustainability in the entire coffee chain, without exception, including standard coffee, not just specialty ones.

Contact Information

  • Colombian Coffee Growers Federation - Press Office
    Calle 73 No. 8- 13 Torre B Piso 8
    Telephone: 3136600 Ext. 1790-1752 Direct: 2352262
    Bogota - Colombia