The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation announced on 8 April that it would be leading a $28.5-million, five-year project to improve water management in 25 Colombian watersheds. The public-private partnership includes participation and investment from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation, Cenicafé, Nescafé, Nestlé, Nespresso, and Wageningen University. The project will be the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ largest project. Entitled 'Manos al Agua’, the project will aim to benefit 563,000 coffee growing families in Colombia by enhancing their resilience and adaptability to climate events, the FNC said in a statement. The project will fall under Neslté Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality Program. GCR spoke first spoke with Nespresso’s International Marketing and Strategy Director Guillaume Le Cunff in July 2013 about the company’s efforts through this program to secure the sustainability of its coffee supply, see http://gcrmag.com/profile/view/nespressos-aaa-bottom-line
In this week’s statement, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso, noted that the company’s involvement in this public-private partnership is a prime example of what Nespresso is working for through the AAA Sustainable Quality Program: “simultaneously building a sustainable future for coffee growers and the environment in order to guarantee the supply of high quality Colombian coffee in the long run”. Water management is an ongoing challenge for Colombian coffee growers, and indeed coffee growers around the world, as large amounts of water must be used to process coffee. At the community level, the project will ensure that more coffee growers have access to post-harvesting centers, which will significantly improve water use practices, FNC said in a statement. At the territorial level, the program will mitigate risks such as erosion. St the farm level, it will introduce wastewater management innovations. The project will follow the Intelligent Water Management model, which includes “scientific and training systems to generate knowledge that advances the understanding of water and climate phenomena”, Wouter Wolters from Wageningen University, said in the statement.