Mitsubishi Corporation

Supporting Small-scale Coffee Growers in Colombia
Improving coffee quality while conserving the local environment

In Columbia, although oil and coal have recently become the main commodities for production and export, coffee remains to be a key commodity for the country. Columbia ranks third or fourth in total coffee production volume globally, and the industry plays an important role in promoting both development for rural communities and economic growth for the country as a whole.

Since 2008, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) has supported small-scale coffee growers ("small growers") in Columbia as an international contributions project through the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (Spanish: Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, "FNC").

* FNC is a non-profit organization that represents about 375,000 Colombian coffee producers and manages production and exports of Colombian coffee. Recently, MC has decided to purchase coffee beans produced by selected growers in the Department of Norte de Santander, and import and market them in Japan.

Small growers supported by MC in Colombia export coffee beans to Japan

Colombia

In May 2015, MC entered into an agreement to purchase 550 bags (70 kg/bag, total equivalent to approximately 3 million cups of coffee) of higher-quality coffee (product improved through the Forest Ranger Families Program) from 288 growers in Norte de Santander Department where MC provided support in fiscal 2014. These coffee beans will be imported into Japan around October or November and made available to Japanese consumers. Colombian coffee is specially known for its wonderful aroma.

The Forest Ranger Families Program — Support for Colombia's small growers

Many small growers in Colombia belong to the poorest segment of the population, and small-scale farming has become a hotbed for the production of illegal crops such as cocaine. As part of a national campaign aimed at eradicating illegal crops, former President Uribe and President Santos have been implementing support projects for small growers in coffee growing regions.

MC is conducting numerous international contribution activities worldwide, each tailored to the needs of the local communities. In Columbia, MC has been party to a memorandum of understanding to contribute to a support project for small growers through the Forest Ranger Families Program since 2008. MC is working together with the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic (Spanish: Departamento Administrativo de la Presidencia de la República, "DAPRE"), FNC, local governments and governmental financial institutions to provide a variety of support to small growers such as improving farm technology, providing infrastructure and conserving the environment.

Overview of the Forest Ranger Families Program

  • Project name : Forest Ranger Families Program (Spanish : Programa Familias Guarda Bosques)
  • Participating organizations : DAPRE, FNC, local governments, governmental financial institutions, MC
  • Total governmental contribution : Total USD 12,843,914 (of which USD 1,778,359 is related to coffee)
  • Support amount : Total USD 1,000,000 (2009 to 2018) USD 100,000/year × 10 years)
  • Details of support :
    1. Establishment of necessary facilities and equipment for environmentally friendly coffee production (washing facilities, drying facilities, wastewater processing facilities, etc.)
    2. Programs to improve coffee quality and productivity (farming education, training programs)
    3. Environmental conservation programs (restoration and protection of degraded forests)
  • Areas covered : Total of 9 departments (Narino, Huila, Cauca, Tolima, Magdalena, La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Boyaca, and Santander)
  • Number of growers : Total of 2,880 growers (total land area: 2,745 ha)
  • Current status of program : Support has been completed in the departments of Narino, Huila, Cauca, Tolima, Magdalena, and La Guajira from 2009-2014.

Example of support provided

Wet mill
Washing facility that removes the skin and flesh of the coffee cherry
Pulping machine
Coffee bean separator used in the wet mill.

Alleviating poverty and conserving the environment

If are successful in improving the quality of the coffee beans that small growers produce and providing stable sales channels in coffee-consuming countries such as Japan, then this will be a big step toward improving living standards of small growers and eradicating illegal crops in rural areas. MC will continue to contribute to these support projects and work together with the related organizations such as FNC to support small growers.

Harvested coffee beans
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