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Federación Campesina del Cauca


South America Accelerator Programme
in partnership with NESsT

Federación Campesina del Cauca (FCC) supports small scale coffee farmers in southwestern Colombia, empowering communities and promoting traditional methods.

The mountainous region of Cauca in southwestern Colombia is renowned for producing some of the country’s finest coffees. Yet, local farmers continue to face challenges due to armed conflict and illegal mining that threaten their traditional ways of life and the lands they rely on for their livelihoods.

Federación Campesina del Cauca (FCC) was founded in 1971 as a vital support network for small-scale coffee producers and their families. Formed by five local farming associations, FCC represents and protects small producers’ rights and ensures they earn a living income. Today, the cooperative sources organic, Fair Trade coffee from 483 smallholder farmers operating in the region, over 30% of whom are women. The first coffee enterprise in Colombia to export with Fair Trade, it ensures its members premium prices. It sells its high-quality, 100% Fair Trade beans to local clients and international businesses in Europe and Asia.

In a region with limited access to education and technical knowledge, the FCC provides comprehensive training to coffee producers and their families. As members of FCC, farmers receive ongoing support to complete organic and Fair Trade certifications and implement long-term sustainable farming methods that strengthen their traditional practices and the quality of the coffee they grow.

One of these methods is crop diversification, a natural way to improve soil health and coffee plant quality. FCC supports its members to exchange native seeds to plant banana, yuca, corn, and citrus fruits alongside their coffee trees. The cooperative also encourages agroforestry methods, such as growing crops in forested areas, which provides coffee trees with shade and prevents soil erosion.

Close to 160 of the farming families that FCC supports are led by women, and the organisation works to support women across all areas of coffee farming. From growing and harvesting beans to making key decisions and managing operations, women are encouraged to take on significant roles within the organisation, with women currently occupying 40% of positions on the FCC management team.

Being supported by NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship is key to reaching new customers, showcasing our products, and expanding our market presence. This partnership will also allow us to continue to invest in the education of our local farmers and strengthen their farming practices, improving their economic stability and contributing to dignified livelihoods.

– FCC leadership
Programme support

FCC is eager to build upon four decades of impact in Cauca and engage more local farmers in the region, especially young people and women. Through the programme, the FCC will implement a rural school project to educate young people and women on adapting farms to climate change and ensuring their future productivity.

Another way FCC supports farmers in becoming more climate resilient is by diversifying their income streams. FCC also supports farmers in introducing bees to their farms. In addition to providing households with additional income, beekeeping addresses coffee flower loss due to climate change and boosts pollination. The investment from NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will allow FCC to implement 110 hives across 11 organic farms and evolve its branding and communications to become a trusted organic coffee and honey brand.