Thanks to the wonders of teamwork, project ‘Fortalecimiento de la Cadena de Valor del Café de Alta Calidad del Departamento de Nariño’ (‘Strengthening the Value Chain of High Quality Coffee in the Department of Nariño’) was born, with which Nariño’s countryside folk managed to access a production chain that favors coffee farming families, associations, religious and social organizations, local and foreign companies, and even NGOs.

With ‘quality’ as their signature, small coffee producers gathered to capture
and add value to their product, understanding that if their coffee met the quality standards for domestic and foreign companies, it would be easier to buy and sell, with the guarantees of commercial and environmental sustainability.

The project allowed the Governance of Nariño, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to focus on commercial programs around coffee, the creation of the website, the construction of a corporate image for organizations, telemarketing, coffee dissemination events, specialized laboratories for coffee tasting, competitions for the best cup and mainly the strengthening of commercial alliances with regional and external parties.

The laboratories, as well as the training provided to the coffee growers, allow the identification of defects that may compromise quality to implement efficiency strategies in the production and transformation of high quality specialty coffees,
according to the requirements of the international market.

Michael Sheridan, Director of Purchase and Shared Value of the coffee roaster company Intelligentsia Coffee, of Chicago, Illinois, mentioned that when he visited Nariño some years ago, he initially found that these communities had an individualistic vision of solving their needs; for example, they proposed to build a Benefit Center for each coffee family, without thinking about the monetary expense and the environmental impact on the water sources that this would entail.  The project allowed these families to understand and experience the multiple advantages that teamwork can offer, always with collective welfare in mind.

Within the framework of the project, two Community Benefit Centers were implemented, resulting in the following: first, a meeting place where coffee growers can process their coffee with the highest quality standards required; second, at a commercial level, coffee growers are accessing international markets with quality and volume, such as the company Intelligentsia Coffee; third, in environmental terms, with the profit centers, the dumping of wastewater on the farms of the beneficiaries of the project was reduced to zero; fourth, income was improved because quality coffee has a better price in the market, and finally, it was contributed to a community in which solidarity is a core value.