No 29

The Extension Service Refocuses Efforts on Profitability of Coffee Growers

March, 2016

What's Happening

The Extension Service Refocuses Efforts on Profitability of Coffee Growers

In line with the new guidelines by the FNC, the Extension Service, which provides continued support and technical assistance to coffee growers, will focus on increasing even further the productivity of crops by improving agronomic variables clearly identified.


Under its value proposition to improve profitability of coffee farmers, the Extension Service of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), which provides continued support and technical assistance to producers, has bet on increasing the productivity of crops, i.e., to do more agronomy.

For the FNC Technical Office, the agronomic variables that have a direct impact on productivity are very clear:

  • Improved varieties (disease-resistant, better adapted to climatic variability and more productive).
  • Higher densities.
  • Younger trees.
  • Better nutrition (fertilization, including more soil analyses to optimize costs).
  • Sunlight (shade management).
  • Phytosanitary practices (disease control).
  • and propitious seasons for planting.

“As to age of coffee plantations, it is important for coffee growers to understand that they must not ‘fall in love’ with their old trees. The younger they are, the more productive they will be,” explains Hernando Duque, Chief Technical Officer of the FNC. “If a tree is not planted at the most propitious time, it will take longer to develop and produce and producers will see their income delayed,” he points out.

On the other hand, the Extension Service, considered one of the best in the world according to international studies, has always been very close to producers (it is one of its differential attributes). But through a greater number of visits by each extensionist (thanks to better planning and micro-planning), this permanent support and closeness to producers will rise. “Served coffee farmers coverage will increase,” says Duque.

 

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The Extension Service is the main vehicle to transfer knowledge and technological developments generated by the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé). And the research center itself is also redefining priorities and refocusing its efforts toward research that best contributes to raise productivity of coffee plantations, with a clear focus on seeking to solve problems of Colombian coffee farming.

In addition, within the framework of the country program “Colombia Siembra” (Colombia Sows), the sowing of corn and beans on coffee farms, as a way to provide producers with supplementary livelihood and income, will be encouraged.
Finally, as part of this reorientation of efforts, the formalities and paperwork related to the Quality Management System (SGC), the funding program Permanence, Sustainability and Future (PSF) or the Incentive for Rural Capitalization (ICR) aids, among others, will remain on the agenda, but without losing sight of the priority to raise productivity of crops.

 

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