BOGOTA –In an environment of openness, plurality, analysis and discussion, the 82nd National Congress of Coffee Growers presented its recommendations on administrative, productive, commercialization and financial matters. Combining continuity and innovation, the recommendations build on several of the programs and initiatives thatthe Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has been working on for some time; they also incorporate the priority measures recently introduced by the FNC’s new CEO Roberto Vélez.
Overall, the recommendations seek to improve the profitability of Colombian coffee growers and of the coffee sector in general.
Administrative recommendations highlight the importance of decentralizing the operations of the FNC, fostering joint efforts between the FNC and the Government of Colombia, and continuing to propose sustainable models.
• Continue to foment a sense of belonging in rural Colombia and foster initiatives that enhance the living conditions, social protection, road infrastructure, sanitation and housing of rural areas.
• Because of its institutional capacity, the FNC will play a leading role in Colombia’s post-conflict scenario.
• The FNC’s CEO and Steering Committee will be responsible for negotiating the new contract of the National Coffee Fund. They will incorporate elements that contribute to the profitability and sustainability of the coffee sector and of coffee growing families, ensuring the preservation of public goods. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are likely to increase their profitability when managed by coffee growers.
Production recommendations highlight the need to rethink the production system using the support of the Extension Service. The Extension Service should now center its activities on the profitability of producers.
• Local associations were recognized as a strategic player in achieving economies of scale.
• Other recommendations included establishing an environmental protection fund, making sure that new plantings do not affect forests, expanding the payment for environmental services, and protecting water sources.
Commercialization recommendations recognized the Purchase Guarantee policy as an essential asset and a non-negotiable public good of Colombian coffee growers.
• Broaden the association scheme to regions with no cooperatives in place, revise and modernize existing cooperatives, and lead efforts that illustrate the fact that current prices are not economically sustainable.
• Continue stimulating the production of value added coffee.
• Create a self-sustained specialty coffee company, harness and stimulate international sustainability efforts, and create a 100% sustainable Café de Colombia seal as part of the 100-100 strategy.