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The FNC’s flag-bearer

From the February 2017 issue.

Roberto Vélez is not just a major figure in the coffee industry – as head of the Colombian Coffee Farmers Federation he is the leader of a national institution.

Roberto Velez

After almost 18 months at the helm of one of the world’s best-known coffee organisations, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), Roberto Vélez remains focused on one key goal that informs all of his work – improving the bottom line for Colombia’s coffee farmers.

“The biggest achievement [is that] we have undoubtedly helped Colombian coffee growers improve their profitability,” Vélez tells Global Coffee Report.

The CEO of the FNC points to the fact that while production costs remained relatively stable, the average productivity of Colombian coffee farmers reached 10.7 loads of dry parchment coffee (or 17.8 bags of green coffee) per hectare.

In addition, external variables such as the international price and the exchange rate have translated into a domestic price that improved coffee growers’ income and helped them reach, on average, a profitability of 25 per cent, Vélez says.

“With a strategy focusing on profitability and a more efficient production, those are variables that we have positively impacted for the benefit of coffee farmers,” he says. “Having addressed the coffee farmers’ main demands, these achievements in the economic field have also translated into a very united FNC.”

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