MILAN — The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Nespresso today announced a pilot program to help revitalize coffee production in the municipality of El Rosario, in the Nariño Department of Colombia.
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has committed nearly $2 million to improve coffee farms and community infrastructure in El Rosario, a municipality where illicit crops continue to be cultivated. The pilot program will work with 100 farmers to implement sustainable farming practices that facilitate the growth of high quality coffee, and Nespresso has committed to purchasing the coffee beans that these farmers will harvest.
The partnership was announced on May 28, following a meeting between Colombian President Iván Duque, Howard Buffett; Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso, and the FNC CEO, Roberto Vélez, at Casa de Nariño in Bogotá, Colombia.
“Nariño’s fertile lands were once the undisputed provenance of the highest quality coffee, and they can be again,” said President Duque. “We welcome the strong involvement of the private sector, the strength of this partnership and dedicated program to help restore the area back to a thriving coffee region with the highest levels of coffee production, contributing to a better quality of life for farmers in El Rosario. We hope similar efforts can exist in other regions of Colombia that are in need of change.”
The pilot program aims to demonstrate the power that quality coffee can have on improving the safety, economic stability and well-being of farming communities. El Rosario is a mountainous area with steep inclines and is only accessed by an unpaved road of twists and turns along the edge of the Andes mountain range. FNC and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation are also supporting the development of needed in-home and community improvement projects. Through this program, the municipality will receive a new healthcare facility, coffee warehouse and community meeting space. Residents will have access to new water infrastructure for farming as well as to in-home filtration systems for drinking water.
“Our investment in El Rosario builds on our two decades of experience supporting agriculture and promoting peace through development,” said Howard G. Buffett. “We hope our partnership with Nespresso and FNC will assist the Colombian government’s efforts to secure and develop the country’s rural areas and show how investments in smallholder farmers can help communities prosper through coffee rather than illicit crops.”
Nespresso’s commitment to purchase the coffee harvested through the program in El Rosario builds on the company’s sustainable coffee-sourcing efforts, its work with Colombia’s farmers over the past 25 years, and its long-standing partnership with FNC.
“We are proud to collaborate with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and to continue our valued partnership with Nespresso,” said Roberto Vélez, CEO of the FNC. “The mission of the Federation is to improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers all over Colombia. Through this program, we will continue to support our farmers and their communities, as they focus on rebuilding their coffee crops and work together to create lasting change in El Rosario.”
In addition to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and warm humid climate, Nariño benefits from an abundance of sunlight, ideal rainfall patterns, and rich volcanic soil, allowing for the cultivation of coffee at higher altitudes than in other parts of Colombia. These conditions produce high-quality coffee with a unique taste and aroma.
“Nariño has a long connection with nurturing and cultivating an exceptional coffee crop, and generations of farmers have crafted some of the rarest and highest-quality Colombian coffee. However, coffee production has been in decline in El Rosario, so this is an exciting program for us to support as it builds on our work with farmers in Colombia and other countries to revive coffees from origins, which are under threat. Through agronomy support and the premiums farmers earn by selling highest quality coffee, we help to provide long-term sustainability and resilience to coffee farming communities,” said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso. “We are committed to helping El Rosario reinvigorate their coffee production and, with it, the community’s pride.”
Nespresso has made long-term investments in coffee regions across Colombia to support farmers and bolster high-quality coffee production in areas where it has diminished. In 2017, in partnership with FNC, Nespresso expanded its AAA Sustainable Quality coffee-sourcing program to several former conflict zones, including San Vicente del Caguán in Caquetá province. In 2018, Nespresso and Blue Marble Microinsurance launched a weather index insurance program in Caldas, Colombia, to provide nearly 2,000 smallholder coffee farmers in the Aguadas and Norte de Caldas cooperatives with a critical safety net in the face of adverse weather conditions.
Following the pilot phase in El Rosario, the partnership plans to extend the program across the Nariño region, with the potential to work with an additional 450 farmers.