No 25

FNC Takes Measures to Help Colombian Coffee Growers Affected by El Niño

February, 2016

Editorial

FNC Takes Measures to Help Colombian Coffee Growers Affected by El Niño

A sample measurement of impact on over 7,000 farms, the delivery of fertilizers for coffee plantations affected by drought and a pay that compensates for the higher content of low-density beans are some measures adopted to help coffee farmers and their families.


Aware of the difficulties posed by El Niño to Colombian coffee farmers, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), headed by Roberto Vélez as CEO, has adopted a series of measures aimed at reducing the event’s impact on Colombian coffee farming in general and on income of producers in particular, without affecting quality of “Excelso” coffee exports.

First, the FNC conducts a field study through its Extension Service to assess the impact of El Niño event. The sample, statistically representative, involves over 7,000 farms throughout Colombia’s coffee departments.

The study, which addresses key issues related to coffee quality and agronomic state of crops, is being conducted at the right time (the harvest’s formation period). It will be conducted once again when the first harvesting period of the year’s first half begins.

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Support for fertilizers

On the other hand, to support farmers affected by drought with in-kind aid, trying to recover productivity of their coffee plantations and maintaining competitiveness and sustainability of coffee farming, the delivery of fertilizers at the national level began from mid-January and will go until July 31.

This program will benefit over 150,000 coffee farmers in 16 departments, who have seen their coffee plantations affected by low rainfall and an increased solar bright.

 

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The beneficiaries, selected after a rigorous field study by the Extension Service and the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), can claim the fertilizer at authorized points: cooperatives and coffee warehouses of the departmental committees, by presenting their Smart Coffee ID Card together with a valid ID document.

Hernando Duque, the FNC Technical Executive Officer, has reminded coffee growers about the importance of nurturing and recovering their plantations, as profitability of coffee farming is also in their hands.

 

Number of Beneficiaries per Department
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The beneficiaries of the fertilizer support program are producers registered and active in the Coffee Information System (SICA) to 30 September 2015.

Trade Measures

Given that one of the effects of El Niño on coffee farming is the higher proportion of low-density beans, the FNC decided to start compensating growers for such beans as of February 15. For this purpose, the FNC will publish the reference price of low-density beans (“pasilla”) on a daily basis.

The FNC has emphasized to coffee growers the importance of a careful post-harvest processing: even if the value of small or misshapen beans (due to drought) will be recognized, the economic-relief measures do not apply to cup defects (bad odors or flavors), in order to preserve quality and reputation of Colombian coffee.

These measures complement others already adopted in 2015, such as authorizing the export of coffee byproducts by clearly differentiated channels (to date the FNC has sold over 80,000 bags of this type of coffee, mainly in the domestic market), maintaining the strict quality controls for “Excelso” coffee for which the Colombian origin has gained its renown and positioning in the industry, or the purchase of dry parchment coffee through a yield factor.

Recently, the FNC Commercial Chief Officer and his work team visited the coffee regions most affected by El Niño, along with the Almacafé (FNC’s logistics operator) manager and the director of the Buencafé freeze-dried coffee factory, in order to communicate and explain these measures and seek solutions jointly with all stakeholders.

Other Measures

In addition, the FNC leads meetings with the Colombian government and municipal and departmental authorities to encourage the restructuring of loans in the most affected regions and the implementation of fertilizer support programs, such as the competitiveness program that had very good results in the past.

The FNC will call on the private sector, including exporters and the domestic industry, to take part in the construction of joint solutions to improve profitability of coffee growers.

As a first response to these concerns, the FNC and Colombia’s Banco Agrario already agreed to work on joint solutions for producers most affected by the intense El Niño event.

Keeping our customers, partners and strategic allies aware of the evolution of El Niño’s impacts, with relevant and first-hand information, is part of the transparency and commitment that have always characterized the FNC as a reliable supplier in the industry.

 

You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the COLOMBIAN COFFEE INSIGHTS sections on the top of this page.