The many sides of Colombia’s FNC
Colombia’s Coffee Growers Federation has played a key role in promoting the industry and is now active in a range of social programs to improve farmers’ livelihoods.
Coffee is a huge part of the social fabric of Colombia. As one of the country’s most famous exports, and the source of livelihood for a large portion of Colombian farmers and their families, the crop is entwined with Colombians’ identity and the welfare of the nation.
Playing an extremely important role in the safeguarding and promotion of the Colombian coffee industry is the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC).
Founded in 1927 as a business cooperative that promotes the production and exportation of Colombian coffee, the FNC represents more than 500,000 producers, most of whom are smallholder farmers.
The FNC has earned fame abroad for its successful “Juan Valdez” marketing campaign that was developed in 1981 to distinguish 100 per cent Colombian coffee from coffee blended with beans from other countries.
The trademark made its first TV appearance in 1983 featuring a country farmer (campesino) carrying coffee on his mule Conchita.
At home, the FNC has most recently distinguished itself for its comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to renovating the nation’s coffee crops to the more resilient Castillo variety, which is resistant to climate change-induced threats such as leaf rust.
But away from the supermarket shelves and coffee trees, the FNC is also extremely active as an initiator of, and participant in, a range of social programs that are improving the lives of Colombians on and off the coffee farms.