Making the Colombian specialty coffee sector more sustainable and inclusive

Trade, Upskilling and Reskilling, Sustainable agriculture
The Colombia más Competitiva programme hopes to improve the exportable offer and the sustainable and inclusive production practices in the value chain of Colombian Specialty Coffee.

Coffee is one of the most important sectors of the Colombian economy. International markets are increasingly demanding coffees that guarantee sustainable management. Hence, it is essential to promote good production, environmental, social, and labour practices. That is why the Colombia Más Competitiva programme prioritises speciality coffees as one of its sustainable value chains.

Five projects were selected to be implemented over the next two years, with an investment of more than CHF 2 million. This amount is made up of 74% co-financing from the Swiss economic cooperation SECO and 25% is contributed by the implementing and partnering organisations, both in cash and in kind.

Departments such as Huila, Santander, Magdalena, Guajira, Cesar, Antioquia, Nariño and Tolima, will provide the setting for developing innovations in the sector. Through bids, new international markets will be reached, which will aim to improve production and increase the income of their coffee growers.

Sustainability and inclusion are key in coffee value chains

Sustainability and inclusion are key to improving competitiveness, which is why the programme's five projects defined actions to strengthen the sector and introduce practices with regard to equity and environmental protection. Some of them include:

  • The project "Export Strategy for Specialty Coffee from the Sierra 'roasted at Origin'" will be developed by the Ecolsierra Network, an association formed by a group of farmers who produce organic coffee in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Mart. The projec seeks the protection and maintenance of ecosystem services and promotes equity by training women baristas, to utilise women's skills in the processes of quality control and barista training.
  • The project "Café con Mentalidad empresarial, ambiental y social", led by Cóndor Specialty Coffee, seeks to increase the volume of specialty coffee produced and marketed by coffee-growing families as a sustainable development strategy. Participatory methodologies such as the Gender Action Learning System empower the farmers and their families through exercises in which women and men reflect on gender issues in their homes and on their farms. The exercise supports the cultural transformation in coffee-growing households.
  • Sucafina Colombia believe that the smartest way to obtain excellent coffee is to create alliances with quality-oriented producers and cooperatives. Their project "Sustainable and productive practices for coffee-growing families in Tolima" seeks to improve the infrastructure and technology of producers, accompanied by training in the use of innovation and care for the environment, which will be aimed especially at women and young people.
  • "The Antioquia Specialty Coffee Marketing Pilot Project", which will be developed by the Medellín Chamber of Commerce for Antioquia, will consolidate a pilot marketing model for Antioquia's specialty coffee to improve the income of the coffee-growing families involved, aiming to replicate the model over time.

Hugo López, manager of Innovakit, summarises these initiatives which seek a systemic development of the coffee value chain and hopes to achieve these changes with a focus on transparency, inclusion and circularity.

"We are making possible what was thought to be impossible in the coffee sector: that our producers can make a living income so that their business is sustainable. At the same time, we are developing and digitally transforming our rural areas."
Hugo López, manager of Innovakit, project manager of “Hubs of social and technological innovation for the empowerment of supply networks”

With these five projects, the Colombia más Competitiva programme seeks to strengthen the application and certification of sustainable management practices in the production process of small and medium-scale crops and promote green and inclusive growth in the specialty coffee value chain.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Sustainable tourism
Colombia + Competitiva - Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Private Sector
The Programme aims to support Colombia in its systematic efforts to improve the competitiveness of its private sector in the framework of the National System of Competitiveness, Science, Technology and Innovation and its Productive Development Policy.
"Colombia + Competitiva" follows a programmatic and systemic approach with clear ownership of the...