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Coffee For Peace

Coffee For Peace


In 2017, the Producers to Markets Alliance Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) began exploring options to promote sustainable development for coffee farmers affected by violence in Colombia through an innovative platform created with the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) that includes details about the production and sale of specialty coffee. The production of specialty coffee can be an effective income generating alternative to illicit crop production.



The program’s first fact-finding exploration was by express riverboat over the mighty Magdalena river towards the hidden and bustling town of Santa Rosa del Sur, in the northwest of Colombia. The renowned writer Gabriel García Márquez became fascinated by the magic of Colombia’s greatest river, which he described in several books. Until recently, Santa Rosa in the department of Bolívar, is considered one of the “no-go” areas in Colombia. By now, the circumstances have improved considerably and fortunately the peace process is already bearing fruit.

At the warehouse of a local trader, a young woman delivers a few bags of “pergamino” coffee beans (unroasted coffee in parchment skin) for which she receives a receipt that can be exchanged around the corner for cash. An intermediary trader sells her coffee to an exporter, and then through an importer to a coffee roaster, who sells the beans to customers thousands of miles away. Usually this type of trade is completely anonymous; the origin is basically untraceable and the farmers lose out financially. For specialty coffee sales to reach levels to make a difference in the farmers’ lives, this must change radically. 

In 2019, FNC together with USAID launched the Coffee for Peace in Colombia initiative, a platform that promotes the sale of fully traceable specialty coffee. Through quality improvement and a targeted export campaign, negotiations are conducted directly with importers and roasters to significantly improve the income of coffee farmers. Now, more than ten thousand coffee farmers are behind the initiative.

Internationally, Coffee for Peace promotes the production and sale of specialty coffee, starting collaborations with formidable trading partners such as RGC Coffee, Trabocca, Atlas and Royal, and roasters such as Cuvée, Farmer Brothers, Panther, and Boot Koffie (The Netherlands). Thanks to these pioneering partners, 2020 is dedicated to the international campaign for Coffee for Peace in Colombia!