No 15

Colombia is Seen by Ethiopia, the Cradle of Coffee, as a Global Reference in Traceability Matters

November, 2013

What's Happening

Colombia is Seen by Ethiopia, the Cradle of Coffee, as a Global Reference in Traceability Matters

With the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation’s (FNC) encouragement, Colombia is at the forefront of coffee quality and traceability and is seen as a world leader by the nation that is considered the cradle of the bean.

A few weeks ago a delegation from Ethiopia visited Colombia to know firsthand a number of aspects of the Federation’s institutional work, as the African nation seeks to improve its coffee storage system and implement a traceability system.

Through Almacafé, the Colombian coffee guild has accumulated a large experience in quality control matters since the bean is received in cooperatives and purchase points, as well as in storage and coffee origin traceability.

One of the things that most impressed the visitors was the generosity with which the Federation opened its doors, including those of Almacafé’s main quality laboratory, to learn more about the institutional work in terms of bean traceability in cooperatives, warehouses and ports.

”We chose Colombia because it is one of the major global players in coffee and we are working on increasing our capacity in terms of the coffee value chain. We are very grateful to the Federation,” explained Anteneh Assefa, executive director of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, at the end of the visit.

“Quality control is a critical concern for Colombia and also for us. Colombia makes great efforts to preserve quality of coffee from the producer until the final part of the market chain. Much of its exported coffee is of added value,” he noted.


During a tour around the central laboratory of Almacafé, the visitors were interested in samples coding, blind tests and in the forms of preparing cups for cupping.

The visitors were also surprised by the emphasis that the Colombian Government, through the Federation, has put in support to the coffee sector. “The Federation, with a clear strategy and a very integrated system, has the ability to manage all these issues of quality, productivity and traceability, including all the auxiliary services that the sector needs. There are many things to learn from your system,” he acknowledged.

“With the fall of coffee prices, the way in which Colombia has survived through the use of subsidies is also a good thing to learn,” he added.

Efforts to increase productivity, the strategy of added value with differentiated coffees and Colombian coffee growing sustainability initiatives are aspects of the institutional work that also drew attention of the Ethiopian visitors. “Something that impressed me is the solid work on sustainability of the coffee sector, what ensures a source of income for the producer and all those involved in the value chain,” said the executive director of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.

Finally, Assefa considered that there are not unique formulas to solve the sector problems and both Colombia and Ethiopia have known how to adapt to their context. “At the end, coffee must be marketed in the way the consumer needs. Our country has its own marketing system that works and Colombia has its own. What matters is the ability to improve income of coffee growers in both countries,” he concluded.


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