Colombia to step up sales of eco-friendly coffee by 2007

New York, May 18 | Updated: May 19 2006, 05:30am hrs
The head of Colombias largest coffee growers group vowed on Wednesday to make sure that 10% of its total coffee output will be certified by social and environmental programs by 2007.

There should be, by 2007, about 1 million (60 kg) bags of certified coffee, and that will be about 10% of Colombian coffee, said Gabriel Silva, chief executive of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC).

The FNC, representing more than 5 lakh Colombian coffee farmers and their families, has added conservation group Rainforest Alliance (RA) to its mix of social and environmental certification programs, including Fair Trade and Utz-Kapeh.

We are announcing the launching of the first Juan Valdez-certified coffee by RA. It will be in all of our cafes in the US and around the world, he told reporters at a conference hosted by the conservation group. FNC aims to produce about 3 lakh bags of coffee certified by RA over the next two years, he said.

RA is a nonprofit organisation helping farmers and companies balance economic, social and environmental development by means of conservation. The Fair Trade label guarantees that farmers and workers received a fair price for their products, while Utz-Kapeh is a worldwide certification programme that sets the standard for responsible coffee production and sourcing.

Growing consumer demand for certified coffee by social and environmental programs has prompted more farmers and coffee roasters to sell certified products.

Chris Wille, chief of the RAs sustainable agriculture programme, said his group certifies about 30,000 tonne of coffee, up from about 5,000 tonne five years ago.