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Coffee from Colombia is among the best in the world, and the Colombians who grow it are a national symbol. But they are often solely dependent on the crop, facing unstable prices and intense competition abroad.

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VIDEO: SAP helps train Colombian coffee growers to improve their business with technology.

So a national alliance of coffee growers, Colombia’s Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, started a social responsibility project with SAP to help these family farmers better compete with tech-savvy rivals around the globe. The project includes giving 5,000 tablet computers to Colombian coffee growers for work on an information system running on SAP technology, enabling farmers to:

  • Answer e-mail
  • Contact other farmers
  • Check daily coffee prices

“This collaboration with SAP is absolutely fundamental” Sonia Acuña, CIO of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros, told SAP TV. “Tools like the tablet for the coffee farmer, and the portal — which is an information system that helps them — are very important.”

All of this helps the coffee growers decide the best time to sell their crop — if they are able to use the technology. So SAP and the Federación launched training workshops this year to teach farmers and their children how to operate tablets.

It is a challenge because many farmers have never used a computer, but having children in the workshop has helped, according to Acuña. Their uptake of the technology tends to be faster than adults, so they are able to help others.

Instructors develop lesson plans based on each farmer’s skill and needs. The program aims to have 500 fully trained farmers by the end of 2013.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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2 Comments

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  1. Craig S

    This is a really cool idea and an interesting model.

    It would be nice it see something like that applied to other areas. I’ve often wondered if co-ops or business associations could provide value to members by managing an SAP system that all members could utilize.  For instance small dairy farmers could use SAP to run their farms if they had availability to a system.  It could allow for group purchasing and management of vendors.  But one farmer could never run or afford an SAP system by themselves.  But a milk cooperative could.

    FF

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    1. Derek Klobucher Post author

      That’s a good point about strength in numbers, FF. The program I mentioned in the blog post may have never happened without the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros.

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