USAID facilitated a public-private partnership with Tolima-based cooperative CAFISUR to give coffee farmers better options to sell unwashed coffee, maintain quality, and reach new markets
Originally appeared on Exposure.
In 2016, USAID-funded Land and Rural Development Program began working with CAFISUR to find a solution to this problem so common in Southern Tolima. After a series of stakeholder meetings, the partners signed a public-private partnership worth US$8.24 million, which supports the installation of a coffee drying plant in Chaparral, the heart of Tolima coffee country. Under the partnership, Colombia’s Rural Development Agency committed to invest approximately US$800,000.
The drying plant will allow CAFISUR to purchase up an additional 3,500 metric tons (MT) of wet coffee from thousands of farmers in the region and will allow the cooperative to double its purchasing—from 10,000 MT to 20,000 MT—over the next three years. The increased purchasing will put a US$7 million in the pockets of thousands of farmers.
“The drying plant will help them reduce post-harvest losses and maintain quality control of their coffee. These benefits will translate to higher revenue for farmers,” explains Váquiro, CAFISUR’s general manager. The installation of the processing plant is also expected to have a motivational effect on farmers, inspiring them to cultivate new areas and to replace old, less productive coffee trees.