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Making a difference between Colombia and the U.S. with a Coffee Relationship Partnership.

Since 2001, three North American specialty coffee roasters: Bucks County Coffee, Timothy's World Coffee, and Community Coffee Co, have been quietly but methodically making the difference to consumers in North America and to growers in Colombia with a trade and development based Coffee Relationship Partnership. "Amigos y Socios en Cafe" is the name given to this initiative amongst the growers in Colombia. This development initiative has been a key factor in helping a group of Colombian coffee growers establish a strong producer controlled and origin owned coffee appellation identity; one, that is secured on instantly recognizable quality attributes and which is protected by its exact geographic designation. This is the Coffee Relationship Partnership "sustainable alternative" to the corporate owned proprietary brand name appellations, which more often than not, brings into play generic references to growers "well being" and often relies upon meaningless geographic "origin" definitions.

The steadfast commitment of these three North American specialty coffee roasters to differentiate genuine single origin coffee, and support its growers and their communities, grew strong during 2003.

Indeed, 600 Embera-Chami families, who produce the Exotic FNC La Vereda Coffee, in 15 tiny but fully defined hamlets within their Indian Reservation in Riosucio (Caldas), have been empowered and given a renewed sense of identity, thanks to their long standing Coffee Relationship Partnership with Timothy's World Coffee and Bucks County Coffee.

Similarly, 947 coffee farmers in Toledo and La Bateca, two coffee villages in Norte de Santander, hitherto divided by a long standing rivalry, have set aside their differences and are now working united, under the beneficial long term Coffee Relationship Partnership with Community Coffee Company.

In the Valle del Cauca region, 38 young families, spread across eight coffee regions, started in 2003 a long term Coffee Relationship Partnership that is helping them secure the actual ownership of their farms, whilst working on improving their coffee quality. This is the "next" generation of Colombian coffee growers, all under 30 years of age. Without the help of this Coffee Relationship Partnership they would find it difficult, if not impossible, to secure ownership and to work as coffee growers.

Without exception, all the Coffee Relationship Partnership coffees have received more than double the international FOB price fetched by the long-established, generic in origin and bean size denominated, "Colombian Supremo" special coffee.

As shown in the following table, during 2003, the three North American Roaster Partners invested $53,000 in social projects benefiting their local grower communities. The availability of these funds is based on, a pre-agreed FOB cents/lb formula that the Roaster Partner sets to sponsor the annual Cooperation Agreements. In 2003 this amount was linked to the annual volume contracted.

The endowment amount paid by the North American coffee roasters corresponds to monies paid directly to the growers--over and above the price paid by the Partner Roasters in the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia under the respective annual Commercial Agreements.

The endowment funds are fully conditioned to the delivery by the growers and acceptance by the roasters of exemplary, single origin, top quality, fully traceable coffees, as well as the timely compliance of basic shipment and other commercial terms.

All the 2003 Cooperation Agreement projects and investment priorities were pre-selected in 2002 by the growers themselves in consultation with the roasters and Fairfield Trading LLC. Each project was allocated funds in accordance to an approved budget and agreed specific objectives, verifiable indicators, investment timeline, independent auditing sources, and reporting commitments.

In 2003 for the second consecutive year, the Coffee Relationship Partnership put together a successful "matching" scheme to leverage the Roaster Partner endowment funds. Two specific Projects were presented to local Colombian entities, like Ecopetrol the National Oil Company, regional and local governments, the local chapters of the Colombian Coffee Federation, and the community of growers. This meant that in 2003, for each dollar endowed by the North American Roaster Partners two additional dollars were raised to benefit the coffee grower communities. The Roaster Partner funds outreach increased from $53,000 to $159,000 in 2003.

An additional Coffee Relationship Partnership success during 2003, is a pilot program sponsored by Bucks County Coffee, linking--through a periodic virtual encounter--the kids in Riosucio Caldas with the kids of the Spanish class students at Pennsbury High School in Philadelphia USA. A virtual chat room (http://groups.msn.com/VirtualClassroom) and a web site (http://www.recintodelpensamiento.com/escuelavirtual) are available and provide additional information. This friendship program complements the Educational and Social promotion initiatives that Timothy's World Coffee and Bucks County Coffee have sponsored since 2001 in this coffee community.

During 2003, Barnie's Tea & Coffee from Orlando Florida became the latest North American Specialty Coffee Roaster prepared to do what it takes to champion sustainability of supply, secure longer term availability, and maximize consumer enjoyment and origin loyalty by means of a sustainable Coffee Relationship Partnership, customized to deliver consistent and outstanding single origin coffee, whilst simultaneously improving quality of lifestyles for growers, and fostering a lasting relationship between discerning consumers and empowered growers.

Some innovations in the Coffee Relationship Partnership programs are worth noting. The new 2004 Coffee Relationship Partnership, links Barnie's Tea & Coffee and its consumers with two singular coffee growing communities and small origins in Colombia: on the one hand, a 35 strong association of women coffee growers located in a little hamlet in the north east location of Guayata, Boyaca; and on the other, two associative groups with 156 grower families, located in the south western region of Timbio, Cauca.

The main an mitaca seasons, common in other coffee producing regions in Colombia, are not available in either of these two Designated Coffee Regions; instead, a single harvest season is available for this origins because the peculiar latitude, altitude, and micro-climate condition. In this regard, starting 2004, Barnie's Tea & Coffee Coffee Relationship Partnership--Commercial Program has been adapted to allow less than a container load of each of the "single origin coffees when in season and to complete the full container load with other Colombian commercial or regional EP coffee products.

Under the Cooperation Agreement of this Coffee Relationship Partnership program, Barnie's Tea & Coffee will sponsor a social investment program in each of the two communities. At this time, the Guayata growers are finalizing the internal consultations for a Family Home that will benefit the entire community. The final Proposal will be submitted to the Partner Roaster on March 2004 once the process of consultation is completed.

Fairfield Trading LLC is the promoter and international coordinator of the Coffee Relationship Partnership initiatives described above. Our sustainability vision is to achieve "Quality in Coffee for Consumers and Quality in Lifestyles for Producers." Fairfield Trading LLC holds a Specialty Coffee Brokerage Contract with the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia; and, currently is working similar programs and initiatives with a private shipper and grower community in Colombia.

As of January 2004, Fairfield Trading LLC is a member of an advisory group established by a U.S. based, NGO Foundation that is operating a tertiary health clinic in one of the neediest coffee areas in El Salvador. With the help of Fairfield Trading LLC, the advisory group is assessing the feasibility of linking, via a sustainable Coffee Relationship Partnership, North American Coffee companies to this high impact project.
COFFEE RELATIONSHIP PARTNERSHIP-COOPERATION AGREEMENT 2003
Social Projects Financed

 Toledo & Embera- Jovenes
 La Bateca Chami Agricultores
 Norte de Riosucio Valle
 Santander Caldas del Cauca
GROWER COMMUNITY Convenio Convenio Convenio
IN COLUMBIA PROGRAM Cooperacion Cooperacion Cooperacion
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES #023-03 #2373/03 ASOJAV

1. Quality ASSURANCE AND QUALITY CONTROL

Washing Reposition 48 UNITS
 pulpers
 Financing 50%

Drying New/repair 175 UNITS 148 UNITS
 facilities

2. CAPACITATING AND TRAINING (VISITS BY COFFEE AGRONOMIST AND
SOCIAL WORKERS)

Technical # Individual 1,062 594
and Social visits
Assistance

Field Day # Group
 meetings 533

3. EDUCATION AND SOCIAL PROMOTION

School 19
Libraries libraries
 Escuela
Educational Nueva
Textbooks program
 18 elementary books for
 schools in 19 schools
 rural areas
School and 1 900 chairs
Furniture elementary 300 tables
 school in 40 desks
 village
School 1 PC
Material 10 TVs
 10 VHS

Textbooks 20
and Books

4. SOCIAL PROMOTION

Farm # Beneficiaries 38
acquisition


For further information or additional details on any of the existing Coffee Relationship Partnerships, or if you are interested in exploring this sustainable development alternative for consumers and producers, please contact Alejandro Renjifo (arenjifo@fairfieldtrading.com).
COPYRIGHT 2004 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Renjifo, Alejandro
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 20, 2004
Words:1389
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