During a meeting with Roberto Vélez, CEO of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), the Japanese company Mitsubishi Corporation donated US$ 100,000 to the ‘Forester Families Program’. Launched in 2008, the program is a joint initiative of the FNC, the Government of Colombia, local authorities, and other actors including Mitsubishi.
The ‘Forester Families Program’ benefits 2,880 smallholder coffee producers throughout the departments of Nariño, Huila, Cauca, Tolima, Magdalena, La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Boyacá and Santander. It provides trainings and skills development to smallholder coffee growers and improves their post-harvesting procedures and infrastructure while preserving the environment.
In July 2008, the Mitsubishi Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Colombia and the FNC. The company agreed to support coffee growers from the department of Norte de Santander for a period of ten years with production infrastructure and environmental protection training.
In May 2015, the Mitsubishi Corporation agreed to buy 550 high quality 70-kilo coffee bags (equivalent to 3 million cups) from 288 Norte de Santander coffee growers. This was considered a milestone given that Japan had traditionally been known for importing combined coffee.
The Mitsubishi Corporation has expressed its commitment to continue supporting Colombian smallholder coffee producers hand in hand with the Colombian Government, the FNC and other relevant actors. This will contribute to Colombia’s efforts to alleviate poverty, reduce illicit crop dependence, and foster development.
As a result of its transparency and effectiveness, the FNC has become a strategic ally for the implementation of public private partnerships and social development programs that involve interagency efforts. This is so for programs funded both with domestic resources and international aid.