- Made up of 123 small coffee growers, this association of Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, promotes the improvement of the living conditions of the producers thanks to a community benefit center, opened in 2017. - The award seeks to identify, recognize and make visible sustainable business experiences that provide economic opportunities to people or territories affected by violence and thus contribute to the construction of peace in Colombia.
Bogotá, September 10, 2019 (FNC Press) – The association of high quality coffee producers “Cuchilla del San Juan”, from Belén de Umbría, Risaralda, received the Emprender Paz Prize on Tuesday night.
This association, made up of 123 small coffee growers, promotes the improvement of the living conditions of its members thanks to a community benefit center, opened in 2017, whose shareholders are the same producers.
“We are very happy with this important recognition for our association and for all the coffee growing in Colombia. And very grateful to the Federation of Coffee Growers, which has been our commercial ally, ”said Miguel Fernando García, representative of the association.
The Emprender Paz Award is an initiative that seeks to identify, recognize and make visible sustainable business experiences that provide economic opportunities to people or territories affected by violence and thus contribute to the construction of peace in Colombia.
Among the finalists of the current edition of the award, to which 124 organizations (mostly, 84%, micro and small) from the agricultural, agro-industrial, services, industrial and extractive sectors were nominated, are important companies such as Luker and Wok restaurant chain.
The other three companies or initiatives that won the award in its 2019 edition were Agricapital, from Medellín; Palmiagro, from Tibú (North of Santander) and Mundo Maderas, from Yumbo (Valle del Cauca).
The prize is awarded based on clearly defined evaluation criteria such as sustainability (35%), impact (35%), replicability (10%), company involvement (15%) and added value (5%, which includes empowerment of women, articulation of actors and innovation).
The four winning initiatives stood out for being sustainable, committed to the reconstruction of the social fabric and the economic inclusion of populations affected by violence, according to the organizers.
Community infrastructure at the service of the producer
Cherry coffee is purchased daily at the association’s headquarters and the benefit that each producer had to do before is realized, a model that allows standardizing the quality of coffee, minimizing wastewater from the process, paying the producer for coffee weekly and improving their life conditions.
The profit center, which saves producers up to 10% of production costs per hectare and optimizes coffee quality, takes advantage of the developments of the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé) in terms of clean technologies, as is the case of the Ecomill® team.
As one of the first completely ecological power plants in the country, Belén de Umbría, became a model towards the sustainability of coffee growing in other departments.
The association sells coffee to the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) and other customers such as RGC Coffee of Canada.
Of the 123 members of the association, 90% are small producers and 30% are women, of which one group works with the pulp and mucilage of coffee to prepare organic fertilizer by vermiculture.
Prize that helps build peace
The Emprender Paz award recognizes experiences of business development and strengthening or of labor ties that benefit the company and its value chain and, in turn, promote the inclusion of people affected by violence.
These initiatives must be aimed at providing concrete solutions to improve the conditions of populations and territories that have been historically excluded due to violence.
The population affected by violence means that which is or has been the victim of illegal armed groups or in a situation of vulnerability due to the actions of these groups, such as displaced persons, ex-combatants, communities that have replaced illegal crops, widows of combatants, victims of mines anti-personnel and people at risk of forced recruitment.
“We suffer a lot from the issue of armed conflict. On the one hand, we had the paramilitaries and, on the other, the guerrillas, that is why the association is a resilience in the face of what was the conflict and the violence that existed, ”García notes.
The Emprender Paz Award is held under the leadership of the Social Group Foundation through the Emprender Paz Corporation and is supported by the Swedish Embassy and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.