Get in the Ring, the National Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia and Connect Bogota are looking for solutions that would make the process of selective coffee harvesting in Colombia more efficient


Coffee growing represents around 23% of the agricultural GDP in Colombia, and over 7% of overall exports. It embodies the greatest source of rural employment, generating around 730,000 direct jobs, equal to 25% of agricultural sector jobs. The work of the National Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia revolves around the coffee growers and their families ensuring Colombian Coffee is grown in a sustainable manner, strengthening common interests within coffee-growing communities while positioning Colombian Coffee as the best coffee in the world with high quality brands like Juan Valdez and Café de Colombia. The Federation represents more than 560.000 families dedicated to growing coffee.


The distinctive quality of a cup of Colombian coffee is defined by different aspects, but mainly by its taste and aroma. What is the secret? Selective harvesting is what makes the Colombian coffee different from the rest of the world. It is a careful process of manual harvesting in which thousands of coffee growers and pickers select the ripe beans one by one. The labor cost of selective harvesting accounts for about 50% of the total production costs, putting the crop profit at risk.

It’s important that the profitability and the social and economic sustainability of Colombian coffee is ensured. In order to do so, it’s necessary to adopt and develop new technologies that reduce the production cost. With this challenge the Federation is looking for solutions that will make the coffee harvesting process more efficient and profitable, allowing the selection of ripe berries to be done at a low cost without affecting the structure of the coffee plant and taking into account the conditions of the Colombian coffee production.


  • Pilot project to prove the solution works

  • Expert coaching by locals involved in the harvesting process

  • Potential investment in case needed for implementation


You should:

  • have a working prototype or demonstrator;

  • be able to launch a finished product within the next 6 months;

  • take into account the dissemination of coffee crops in Colombia. In the same branch you can find flowers, green beans, semi-ripe and ripe berries. In order to achieve Colombian cup quality, only ripe berries should be picked, with a maximum of 5% green beans into the volume harvested;

  • focus only on collecting adult beans, with a maximum of 5% of green beans in the harvested mass;

  • consider the specific geographical and topographic circumstances of Colombian culture;

  • generate a sufficiently positive cost - benefit to encourage adoption;

  • generate an average yield (kilos picked per hour) broadly exceeding that of selective manual harvest;

  • have minimal impact on the tree and crop structure;

  • harvest the largest quantity of ripe fruit, leaving less than 1% on the tree;

  • take into consideration maintenance, support and access to necessary spare parts, in case the proposed solution should be affected or encounter problems;

  • OPTIONAL include the generation of positive social impact results (like the inclusion of communities in vulnerable situations).

More background information


A number of solutions, adapted or internally developed, are examined and tested to date. The implementation and effect have remained quite limited, mostly because of the distinctive features of Colombian coffee. None of the solutions have been widely marketed, hence their low adoption. Most of the solutions require additional equipment and tools, such as picking nets and berry sorting (to separate the green fruit from the ripe fruit), which represents an additional investment effort from the farmer. In some crops, the application of chemicals is tested to accelerate ripening. It changed the physical appearance of the berry and the intrinsic grain properties, resulting in a lower quality of the beverage. Solutions that have been tested fall in the following categories;

  • manual harvesting accessories

  • harvesting with nets

  • machinery

  • automated tools


Connect Bogotá Region accelerates innovation. Connect works for Bogotá and Cundinamarca to become one of the most innovative regions of Latin America, a 'City of Knowledge' where Economic development is based on creativity, innovation, science, technology, among many others, as generators of added value and wealth. At present, Connect has a network of 54 partners that make its operation possible: 30 companies and organizations and 24 universities are betting that the road to the development and competitiveness of the Region City is innovation.




The National Coffee Growers Federation of Colombia will select the most innovative and promising companies they wish to work with.


Selected startups will be invited to Bogota in December to talk business.
EARLY 2018


The best startup(s) will be awarded with a pilot project that is planned to start early 2018.
42 days left
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