BOGOTA, Colombia – Colombia, the largest producer of mild washed Arabica coffee, regained its leadership to attract attention on key sectorial issues during the International Coffee Week (Sintercafe) in Costa Rica, where it proposed an economic sustainability agreement with the global industry that takes into account, as a fundamental piece, profitability of coffee growers.
This proposal, which was very well received by participants, was made by the Chief Executive Officer of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), Roberto Vélez. This important meeting was attended by representatives from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru and Colombia, as well as coffee industry representatives from North America, Europe and Asia.
“What we seek with this proposal is to achieve an agreement with the entire industry that translates into price levels that make coffee growing a profitable and economically sustainable activity for coffee growers as it does for the industry,” he said.
To strengthen this proposal, Colombia will present it within the framework of the World Coffee Conference, to be held by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in March in Ethiopia and to be attended by countries accounting for 94% of global production and over 75% of world coffee consumption.
“It is our duty to protect the environment and communities as a whole, but if each grower’s activity is not profitable, in the future there will be no more coffee communities that care for the environment because coffee growing will disappear,” the FNC CEO added.
If this measure is adopted, it would directly benefit over 22 million people who work in the coffee production process worldwide (2.3 million in Central America, 2.2 in South America, 12.1 million in Africa and 5.5 million in Asia).
“With current prices, we can hardly expect coffee growing to survive. We seek that the industry recognizes that coffee growers make great efforts to achieve quality and sustainability. Viability of the entire chain, starting by the farm, is a co-responsibility of all the links,” he concluded.
In Colombia, over 500,000 families grow coffee. Although the extensive renovation of coffee plantations has increased overall productivity and more families are producing specialty coffees, which help them be protected from the volatility of international prices and external factors such as the exchange rate, a significant number of families are still being affected by the ups and downs of the international price.