Colombian Producers Focus Group

During the month of August (2017), the National Federation of Coffee Growers and the Coffee Growers Committee of Risaralda opened their doors and invited a group of producers from the Departments of Risaralda and Caldas to participate in a workshop developed by Coffee Quality Institute. During a full day, this valuable group of Colombian coffee farmers gathered in the city of Pereira to deepen in different topics such as quality improvement; challenges, access to market and expectations of innovation in the coffee sector.

"CQI’s approach [to producers] through the Departmental Committee is an opportunity to know and validate the perspective producers have communicated within the Associations. It is valuable that the producers know more about quality and processing and that they have accompaniment of the National Federation of Coffee Growers and count with an ally like CQI. These spaces of communication contribute greatly to this region of Colombia", says Jorge Humberto Echeverri, Executive Director of the Coffee Growers Committee of Risaralda.

Rodrigo Alberto Peláez, producer of Caldas and participant in the session, referred to one of the topics in which all the producers agreed, "Quality is a complex concept that has to do with product’s coherence. People always expect to keep getting something similar to what they have found from the first time. Both consistency of the production process and consistency of the consumer experience are essential to really talk about quality".

The focus group also revealed that producers believe quality is an opportunity to improve profitability. Jaime Duque Londoño, founder of Catación Pública and a technical ally of CQI, participated and supported in convening the session, "Achieving a cup that has a good score and generates a significant remuneration is the challenge. The productivity of the coffee grower is also a definitive factor, and these types of initiatives are useful to understand the strategic routes that we must follow".

The producers expressed their concerns about other issues such as climate change, generational takeover, and profitability. This space was also of great importance, focusing on collaboration at an institutional level to be closer to the producers.

"Having the opportunity to bring together Colombian coffee growers, CQI, and the National Federation of Coffee Growers to talk about coffee quality and coffee production processes at the farm, is a very valuable exercise. Understanding the needs of coffee growers, the pillars in which coffee growers' quality and expectations can be improved from the specialty coffee point of view, is very important for the Federation, as these meetings serve as input to identify projects in which both institutions can work together ", comments María Alejandra Olano, Special Coffee Analyst of the National Federation of Coffee Growers.
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