Melitta and 4C Build a Bridge Between Smallholder Coffee Farmers in Colombia and the European Market

Cologne, Germany, May 05, 2022 –(PR.com)– Under the joint project “Improving working and living conditions for coffee smallholders in Colombia,” 4C Services GmbH and Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG – Division Coffee – are working together with Colombian coffee growers in the Magdalena region. The project is co-funded by Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) through its develoPPP program. Increasing market uptake of coffee from the Magdalena region in Europe is vital to make the farmers’ operations more viable and increase the attractiveness of the sector for younger generations.

A major milestone of the project was achieved at the end of 2021, when 437 smallholder coffee farmers became 4C certfied. Following this achievement, in early 2022 Melitta purchased their first batch of 4C certified, traceable coffee from the project beneficiaries at a price premium.

The journey of this project began in early 2020. Since then 4C and its implementing partner FNC (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros) have conducted 386 individual and group on-farm trainings and online workshops. These trainings provided smallholder coffee farmers with the technical assistance they need to implement effective management practices and prepare for the 4C audit.

“With the 4C certification we take care of our environment, becoming more sustainable in the long term and adding value to our coffee, which allows us to improve our income.” -Richard Becerra – coffee farmer in the Magdalena region of Colombia

In 2022 the project will continue to support additional coffee growers to gradually improve their production practices to maintain the 4C certification. This will be done through further trainings – online and on the farms. Furthermore, the project will focus on improving opportunities in the coffee sector for young adults. Among other activities, trainings specifically aimed at youths in the Magdalena region will be organized on topics such as ecotourism, barista skills, coffee tasting and entrepreneurship. To enable the implementation of the learnings from the trainings and improvement measures identified during the 4C audit, the project beneficiaries will also be supported financially to make necessary investments.

“We are very proud that the first green coffees from the project region in Colombia have been shipped to Bremen. This shows the great progress made in the project, and that under the challenging circumstances. Many thanks to the partners involved that this milestone has been reached as planned.” -Jan Rischkopf, Sustainability Manager, Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. KG – Division Coffee

“Strong and direct market links between coffee producers and international markets are key to improve livelihoods of coffee communities and build sustainable supply chains. We are very proud that with its patners 4C has been able to contribute to this important outcome, despite the difficult COVID framework conditions.” -Norbert Schmitz, Managing Director, 4C Services.