STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 3

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10 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 3, 2015 (June/July) El Caficultor Publisher/Founding Editor Glenn Anthony John Managing Editor Dan Bolton Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Global Tea Report Jane Pettigrew Global Coffee Report Jenny Neill Contributing Writers Anne-Marie Hardie Sherri Johns (North America) Dr. Markus Heidak Sunalini Menon (India) Frank J. Miller Gita Narrayani Thomas Schmid Dan Shryock Kelly E. Stein (South America) Translations (Chinese) Helen Xu Fei Sales Director Emerson Leonard Sales Representative Jonathan W. Bell For further information, contact: Director, October Inter Co., Ltd. Boonthin Tubsongkroh STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Vanit Building 2, Room 1403A 1126/2 New Petchburi Rd. Bangkok 10400 THAILAND Tel +66 2255 6625 Fax +66 2655 2211 Published by: A Member of: From the Editor © 2015 October Multimedia Co Ltd., STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International is published bi-monthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December by October Multimedia Co Ltd. Printing and distribution overseen by October Inter Co., Ltd., 1126/2 New Petchburi Road, Vanit Bldg. 2 Room 1403A, Bangkok 10400 THAI- LAND. Tel +66 22 55 66 25, Fax +66 26 55 22 11 E-mail: Visit: for the latest news. Colombia's coffee growers faced a dismal future in 2008. La roya (coffee leaf rust) wreaked havoc from highlands to low. Yields plummeted from 12.6 million 60-kilo bags in 2007 to 7.7 million bags in 2012 as overall quality suffered and prices fell. The dreaded rust fungus then spread to Central America where it continues to depress the national economies in neighboring Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. In every crisis there lies opportunity and for Colombia, the depth of the crisis led the entire coffee industry to agree on a plan of action that literally consisted of uprooting their livelihood in hopes of a better future. Beginning in 2009 coffee growers replaced 3.25 billion trees at a pace never before seen. The new cultivars they planted were not only resistant to la roya, they were selected to adjust to changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Climate change is seen as the next big challenge facing arabica growers. Colombia's growers were united in their attention to crop science. A national network of weather stations was built. Researchers validated new techniques for planting and pruning and protecting trees from insects. Battalions of agronomists led the fight but it was indi- vidual growers, mainly smallholders on plots of only a few acres that did daily battle, coun- tering infestations, replanting, spreading fertilizer, and rejuvenating hillsides of aging trees. There were several lean years before the saplings produced a commercial harvest. At the local level in departments like Caldas where the entire economy depends on coffee, groups of farmers (El Caficultors) underwent a different kind of transformation. Once isolated, they now began meeting as groups to learn and share. A spirited competition to improve cof- fee on every farm developed. Growers collectively embraced the idea that it is long-term im- provements in yield that brings prosperity. Instead of chasing pesos they pursued sustainability. In a remarkable display of gumption they invested what little they earned to buy equipment and improve their cultivation skills while mindful of soil and water conservation. Colombia is uniquely served by the Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) the largest non-profit in the world. Its mission: to guarantee the well-being of Colombian coffee growers, and in so doing, produce the world's most marvelous washed arabica. Among its many services is publication of El Caficultor, a national newspaper for coffee growers. A recent headline praised Caldas as "modern, productive, and competitive," citing results leading to its biggest harvest yet. Production averaged 16.2 bags per hectare in 2014, up from 12.6 bags in 2009, and exceeding the national average. Production nationwide reached pre-crisis levels worth a record 5.4 billion pesos. This newspaper along with a radio network, online resources, and the technical bulletin Separata Technica reflect the power of collaboration. At the apex of this competition are several hundred growers who excelled beyond their peers socially, economically, and as stewards of the environment. In Caldas, Nespresso allied with these growers to establish Nespresso's AAA Sustainable Quality Program. The program, established in 2003 in cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance, has amplified the impact of the country's strategic plan. In 2013 an independent study by CRECE* quantified the program's success, reporting a 22.6% increase in social well-being among AAA growers (compared to a control group). Growers received 40% more technical assistance and were rewarded by 46% higher net incomes. On AAA farms 66% of the coffee was sold as high quality while only 23% of coffee produced on non AAA farms met this standard. Nespresso continues its support with a Farmer Future retirement plan (See, Pg. 40) to insure the next generation furthers the industry's dramatic recovery. *Centro de Estudios Regionales Cafeteros Y Empresariales

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