History of the Coffee Federation

Given the positive advancement of coffee growing in Colombia, an important group of coffee growers, dedicated to the export of the beans, organized an association to regulate the market. Thus, in 1904, the coffee producers organization ("Sociedad de Productores de Cafe") was established. Although its good intentions, it failed to regulate the industry and the market. It wasult task, as the global conditions were complicated due to overproduction, price volatility and the events of World War I. The coffee industry in the nation was evolving and growers, merchants and exporters could not agree on policies and regulations to organize and consolidate it.[8] In the province of Antioquia, Epifanio Montoya Uribe, a tenacious and visionary coffee grower, promoted the creation of an association to look after the interest of the coffee growers. He created this organization under the name of Colombian coffee union ("Union Cafetera Colombiana"). His ideas and association efforts were well received by the industry and took hold and, the institution prospered.[8] On August 25, 1920, the First National Congress of Coffee Growers to convene in Bogota, promoted and sponsored by the Agricultural Society of Colombia ("Sociead e Agricultores de Colombia") (S.A.C.). This first congress was presided by presided by Epifanio Montoya. Other dignitaries that attended this event were General Ramon Gonzalez Valencia (former Vice-President of the country), General Alfredo Vasquez Cobo (presidential candidate), Antonio Samper (president of S.A.C.), Tulio Ospina Vasquez, Jose de Jesus Salazar, German del Corral, Luis Montoya Santamaria, Gabriel Ortiz Williamson and Lucas Caballero. This congress laid the foundation for the successful organization and establishment of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. Much was analyzed and discussed during this congress, mainly regarding transportation infrastructure, financial institutions, trade association and protection of the industry. The magnitude of the issues studied and the challenges addressed by the delegates were overwhelming. At the end, the congress djourned without any major resolution adopted. Nevertheless, the delegates returned to their provinces with a fervent desire to create a national trade association capable to protect the industry and guide its members.[8] The response to the efforts and foundations laid by the First National Congress of Coffee Growers would take seven years to materialize. In June 1927, the "Agrarian Association of Antioquia", ("Sociead Antioquena de Agricultores") (S.A.A.), decide to make a second effort to try to organize and confederate the nation's coffee growers. Thus, the Second National Congress of Coffee Growers convened in Medellin in 1927. The main speaker was former President of Colombia Carlos Eugenio Restrepo, who gave the opening speech. Twenty nine delegates participated in this Congress and several dignitaries from the political and economic elite of the nation, and among them two of the sons of Tulio Ospina Vasquez, Rafael Ospina Perez (president of the S.A.A.) who presided over this Congress and Mariano Ospina Perez, future president of Colombia.[8] Other participants were Daniel Uribe Botero (vice-president of the S.A.A.), Epifanio Montoya, Julio C. Gaitan (representing the government), Pedro Bernal Escobar and Joaquin Santamaria.[11] By the end of deliberations, the Second National Congress of Coffee Growers had agreed to establish the "National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia" (Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia). The Federation was created as a trade association, private entity and non-profit organization.[11] Few months later that same year of 1927, the National Congress approved the Law 76, by which duties were imposed on all exports of the country and gave to the National Federation of Coffee Growers the authority to administer and manage all these revenue. Thus, the Federation and the national government signed a contract, on October 15, 1928, by which the government was obliged to transfer to the Federation all revenue generated by this tax. This revenue propelled and fortified the Federation and these resources were used to create the National Coffee Fund.