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Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:00

The best soft coffee in the world: in the middle of war and the future

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By: Jairo Rivera, Peace Agreement spokesperson to Colombian Congress

In a small rural settlement in Planadas within the department of Tolima in Colombia, the best soft coffee in the world is produced according to the American Association of Special Coffees (SCAA) in 2008, and has won many national and international awards.

There, the small and medium farmers don’t have the means to get their product out to the city, much less export it without having economic losses. The main reason is the lack of road infrastructure, the lack of State support for the economic development of the region, the lack of an institutional fabric that allows them to thrive.

Planadas has been the epicenter of the armed conflict and birthplace of the FARC itself. The Colombian experience shows us that when an armed actor leaves an area there are two possibilities: Either the State comes in with institutions, infrastructure, public policies and development promotion, or an illegal armed actor comes in, as it has been the case in various regions of Colombia that today face paramilitary intrusion.

May the eyes of the world be put back on Planadas! This time, not because of war but because of its valuable coffee. Lets allow Colombia to delight palates in all corners of this world! and this time, for its riches to be of direct benefit to the peasants who cultivate it, to the region, and let this be the pillar of progress and development for Planadas and its surroundings.

The Comprehensive Rural Reform, the reform to the royalties system and other legislative procedures that are currently passing through Congress can be the starting point to bring our farmers what they need: support, institutionality, infrastructure, subsidies for their companies, land and peace.

We can’t let the possibility of modernizing and developing this country to be taken away from us.

Source: Jairo Rivera Page

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