Red Association
El Aguila.

Red Association
El Aguila

Region: Valle del Cauca
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Process: Washed
Tastes: Blackberry, Honeydew, Plum

In 2017, Raw Material met with producer groups in Colombia to understand what is preventing farmers from accessing the specialty market. Despite good production levels, income from coffee for these families dropped to unsustainable levels in the past few years.

They faced a crossroad; either find alternative means of income outside coffee, or find a more stable and sustainable market. During these discussions we heard farmers describe their core challenges: a lack of key infrastructure; and lack of stable prices to provide certainty for investment in improved quality. Together, we also uncovered a wide gap between how coffee quality is discussed and measured at the farm level compared with the roasting end of the value chain.

To address these challenges, we launched the Red Association. With the new infrastructure in place, we are able to pay individual farmers a minimum fixed price of 1M COP/carga of dry parchment coffee they produce through a community lot. This price results in double the household income of a typical coffee producing family, compared with the average income in the regular market over the past 5 years.

Once the new infrastructure is built, fixed price payments can get directly to producers through a transparent system. The goal is to achieve stable and sustainable prices for community coffee lots through improved quality control, shared knowledge, and a connection to the specialty coffee market.

Red in Spanish means network, representing the producers and roasters working together to create a sustainable value chain. The municipality of El Aguila is known for its abundant coffee production, which is the region’s main source of income. The coffee quality and fertile lands make this one of the most important economic centers of the North of Valle del Cauca.