Colombian coffee growers woo Japan

The CEO of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), Roberto Velez, has met with key leaders of the Japanese coffee industry to promote Colombian coffee and entrepreneurship in Japan. His meetings included gatherings with trading houses, ready-to-drink coffee companies, roaster companies, the All Japan Coffee Association and the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan. With more than 1.3 million 60-kilogram Colombian coffee bags imported in 2015, Japan is the second largest buyer of Colombian coffee. In addition to appreciating quality, the Japanese market is known for its dynamism and innovation in beverage preparation. One of the most illustrative examples is Coca-Cola’s ready-to-drink Emerald Mountain Blend. Through an alliance with the FNC, the drink is produced with Colombia's exclusive Emerald Mountain coffee and other high quality beans. Given the nature of the Japanese market and the presence of the FNC in Japan, Velez shared with Japanese leaders his view on developing value added alternatives for Colombian coffee that result in greater profitability for coffee growers. A seminar on Colombia was hosted in Tokyo's Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) in honour of Velez's visit. In addition to the FNC's CEO, Yorihiko Kojima -Chair of the Joint Economic Committee Japan-Colombia and member of the Board of Directors and Senior Corporate Advisor of Mitsubishi Corporation-, Ryutaro Hatanaka -Japanese Ambassador to Colombia- and Takuo Toda -President of Castem- participated in the Seminar. Velez referred to the need to promptly conclude the Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Colombia and to the possibility of joint business development between the two countries. Having served as the representative of the FNC in Tokyo and as Colombian Ambassador to Japan in previous years, Velez's leadership and expertise on the Asian market were received with great enthusiasm by the Japanese business sector.

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