Retirement Scheme For Colombian Coffee Farmers Ensures Welfare of Elderly

Jose Arias González, a coffee farmer from Colombia, describes how the industry’s first retirement savings scheme is providing a financial safety net and attracting the next generation back into farming
Feb 15, 2016 10:00 AM ET
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“This fund is a bit like a small tree: I nurture and tend it until, one day, it becomes so big that I can rest in its shade”, Colombian coffee farmer José Arias González explains, as he reflects on the benefits of a programme that is supporting him and 850 other smallholder farmers in Caldas, a region famous for producing some of the world’s best coffee.

Coffee growing is incredibly important to Colombia’s economy. However, its future has been threatened by the increasing number of farmers reaching retirement age with no successors in place because young people don’t believe it offers them a viable or sustainable livelihood. The average age of farmers in Colombia is now 53 and as a result, there is a serious challenge to the future of the Colombian coffee industry.

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