As part of the partnership, a new lab and training centre will be established in Colombia to offer the latest growing techniques to produce high-quality coffee beans

OLAM Coffee

Image: A coffee farmer in Colombia. (Credit: Olam International Limited.)

Food and agri-business company Olam along with John Lewis Partnership, Bewley’s Tea & Coffee and coffee cooperative ASOPEP have launched a new project to support coffee farmers in post-conflict zones in the south-west of Colombia.

As part of the project, a new laboratory and a training centre will be built to raise not only the coffee quality but also the livelihoods of the farmers.

Through the lab and education facilities, local coffee farmers will now have access to training on organic and sustainable farming, good agricultural practices, new varieties and quality testing.

Coffee specialists from Olam will offer advanced post-harvest processing workshops and will also introduce farmers to the latest techniques to produce coffee of higher grades.

Olam sustainability and differentiated coffee head in Colombia Catalina González Sánchez said: “In the current climate of unpredictable weather and prices, it’s important to encourage and upskill growers to produce higher quality beans that qualify for speciality coffee markets, where prices are higher and more stable.”

“We work with 5,000 farmers in Colombia through existing sustainability programmes and we rely on collaboration to truly catalyse change.

“We’re incredibly proud of this partnership with JLP and Bewley’s which will not only directly benefit 100 coffee farmers, but hundreds more in the local communities whose livelihoods also depend on coffee. It’s a great example of how joint efforts on sustainability can deliver value throughout the supply chain.”

Through the project nearly 2,000 coffee growers could be benefited

Over the next three years, the development of the lab and training centre is expected to be beneficial for nearly 2,000 members of coffee communities in Huila and Tolima.

Olam stated that it will use social and environmental metrics from its sustainable sourcing platform AtSource to monitor the progress of the project, with training being offered and data being capture by their team of field agronomists.

Launched by Olam in 2018, AtSource is a sustainable sourcing platform for B2B marketplace, offering social and environmental footprint of their product’s journey to food brands and manufacturers via a digital dashboard.

John Lewis Partnership sustainability partner & manager Nykia Brain said: “We’re excited to be launching this programme in partnership with Olam Coffee, Bewleys UK and the Fairtrade Foundation UK to commemorate our move to 100% Fairtrade coffee across our John Lewis Partnership cafes.

“We hope that the planned laboratory and training centre will help inspire a new generation of coffee farmers and support the long term sustainability of the industry. We look forward to sharing the story with our customers.”