illy Signs an Agreement for the Process of Reintegrating the Ex Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from the Cauca Zone, to Support Production of High-Quality Coffee through Knowledge-Sharing and Training
Colombia, May 18th, 2018 – On this day illycaffè, global leader in the high-quality coffee sector, signed a memorandum of understanding in Colombia with the ETCR (Territorial Spaces for Training and Reintegration) and Ascafé (Association of small coffee growers), which aims to increase the quality and productivity of coffee production in the department of Cauca, where former FARC fighters and small producers reside, encouraging local economic development.
The agreement, which was signed in the city of Popayan by the Chairman of illycaffè, Andrea Illy, and by the representatives of the ETCR Walter Mendoza and Carlos Arturo López, establishes, among other things, that illy will share its know-how of the best agronomical practices - thanks to a training program delivered by its University of Coffee technicians and agronomists - and will purchase the coffee lots produced by the former fighters meeting its quality standards.
On this day we celebrate a great victory in the peace process: today the first production of coffee within the Territorial Spaces for Training and Reintegration has been completed. These lots of high quality Arabica confirm the success of the reconversion program which is underway. Thanks to the commercial programs of Ascafè and of the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros, the training program managed by The Agencia para la Reintegracion (The Agency for Reintegration) and supported by Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje SENA - through which illycaffè has helped to train former fighters - Colombia is living another great historical moment.
There are over 600 ex FARC fighters in the four ETCR zones located in the Cauca who are able to enjoy the benefits described in the memorandum. These include 130 ex fighters from La Elvira, Buenos Aires; 350 from Los Monos, Caldono; 50 from el Estrecho, Patia; and 80 from Monte Redondo, Miranda; to which are added 480 small producers from the surrounding communities.
“We want to tangibly contribute to the complex peace process, working alongside the people and the organizations that are joining forces to make this happen quickly - said Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè, and continued – we are implementing in Colombia and in Cauca the same principles that we apply in the other countries from which we buy our green coffee, and that are based on three pillars: working hands in hands with the producers - either individually or in affiliation with others; sharing with them the knowledge to allow them to achieve higher standards of production; and remunerating them in such a way that makes their production sustainable.”
Coffee represents a strategic investment for the development of the region and for the diffusion of a culture of peace. It is for this reason that the governor of Cauca, the communal administrations of Algeria, Caldono, Buenos Aires, Miranda, and Bandera de Patia, the Committee of the coffee growers of Cauca, and members of the Cooperative and of the Colombian Association of small producers, Ascafè, proudly announces the launch of this ambitious project which expects to plant 550 hectares of coffee.