Antioquia’s Coffee Growers Win Health Ministry Approval to Resume Harvest
The “Comite de Cafeteros de Antioquia” (CCA, the Antioquia coffee-growers association) announced April 14 that Colombia’s Health Ministry has approved a new biosafety protocol that will enable resumption of coffee harvesting — a crucial export commodity both for Antioquia and Colombia.
“Between March and June, it is expected that the first-semester [first half of 2020] national harvest will be about 6.5 million bags of coffee, a task that requires about 135,000 collectors,” according to CCA.
“With the validation by the Ministry of Health and to protect the health of producers, gatherers and their families, the National Federation of Coffee Growers (FNC) prepared and published the ‘COVID-19 Protocol for Coffee Growers,’ a detailed, step-by-step [manual] to prevent the spread and contagion of the new coronavirus, especially at this time of harvest.
“The protocol, written in simple language and explaining the recommendations to be followed, covers topics such as basic care for the interruption of the Covid-19 contagion chain, preparation and use of disinfecting solutions, use of personal protection elements, cleaning activities and disinfection, preventive social isolation and measures for farms that require local or external labor.
“Due to its usefulness for other agricultural sectors that can take advantage of it as a replicable model, the FNC makes this protocol available to the public, which can be found at www.federacióndecafeteros.org,” the trade group added.
Meanwhile, Antioquia’s Agriculture Secretary likewise issued a bulletin to all mayors in the department of Antioquia urging widespread promotion of mandatory biosafety protocols for all types of agricultural workers — including transporters of farm products as well as farm supplies.