SAP has joined forces with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and the Manuel Mejía Foundation to provide coffee farmers with the technology and training they need to develop more sustainable business practices.
Technology continues to be scarce among rural communities in Colombia, SAP says. To help change this reality, the company supplied technical training to more than 500 coffee growers, teaching them how to effectively use mobile tablets and computers to access the “coffee portal,” which provides useful information on coffee market news, geographical farm data, coffee purchasing conditions, incentives and support programs.
The first to make use of SAP software for companies in Colombia, the FNC created the coffee portal to consolidate information that allows all coffee farmers to be connected and informed about the coffee industry. FNC initially found that, due to a lack of basic IT skills, most coffee farmers were not using the portal, despite the large collection of data. This spurred SAP to step in to provide the technical training.
Many rural farmers have a tough time trying to predict ever-changing daily prices and determine the best time to sell their coffee, which requires making long trips to the nearest selling point. The SAP technology allows farmers to check prices in real-time, view transaction histories and sell their coffee directly through the portal. This ensures fair and consistent prices across the value chain.
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SAP developed a training curriculum for several one-day sessions, which includes basic information such as how to turn on a computer and browse the Internet, as well as best practices for making the most of the portal. One family member from each farm was selected for the trainings and tasked with passing their skills along to the rest of the family.
“Working with SAP is essential to bringing technology to rural areas of the country,” said Luis Acero, chief operating officer of FNC. “Helping farmers become familiar with tools like the coffee portal and access to the portal, gives them access to important business information that helps shape their market activities.”
In October, Fair Trade USA partnered with nonprofit Kiva to help small-scale coffee farmers in Colombia and Nicaragua to access financing, improve crop quality and invest in the future of their families and communities. The partnership resulted from a successful collaboration last year between Fair Trade USA, Kiva and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to pilot Kiva’s first agricultural lending program with a Fair Trade coffee cooperative in Mexico. Kiva’s global lenders fully funded nearly all of the loans, which benefited hundreds of small farmers working to prepare their fields for harvest.