The Sustainable Territories for Peace in Caquetá project, in Colombia, promoted the organic certification of 25 cocoa producers, who underwent a successful auditing process and received the organic certification stamps necessary to export their products to the markets of the United States, Canada and Europe.
The project has been supporting cocoa producers in the transition to organic production, through technical support, training and donation of tools and bio compounds against pests and diseases.
From December 9 to 12, 2019, an audit was conducted by a representative of the international company Mayacert, representing an important milestone in this process, allowing a technical assessment of the progress made. The changes in practices implemented by producers and their compliance with the standards required to obtain biological certification were analyzed in detail.
This audit sought to establish an open dialogue with farmers, identifying the obstacles and difficulties faced by each of them in the process of transition to organic production. Field visits to several of the organic cocoa farms supported by the project were also carried out. Finally, the auditor conducted a positive evaluation, recognizing the motivation and efforts made by producers in implementing cultivation practices, management and treatment of plantations according to the required standards.
The focus on organic production is a central component of the Sustainable Territories for Peace project in Caquetá, Colombia, which contributes directly to the promotion of environmental sustainability and economic development in the Caquetá region. The certified organic production of cocoa, promoted together with the improvement of quality, allows producers caquetños to meet the demand and requirements of specialized international markets, ensuring higher and competitive incomes. At the same time, the preservation of the quality of the soil, water and local biodiversity is guaranteed, without the contamination of the phytochemical products used in conventional production.
In a second phase, already initiated by the project, 25 more farmers will be identified and trained to obtain organic certification. The success of this initiative, and the expectation and interest created around the certification process in the region, allow us to conceive, in the near future, the reproduction and multiplication of this production and marketing model to other producing communities. In addition to the socio-economic impact of this process, with the direct increase in farmers’ incomes, efforts to implement organic certification have also contributed to strengthening the business fabric and organizational dynamics of the cocoa sector in Caquetá, particularly with the organization of producers in a Cacaoteros Committee.
The promotion of organic production represents a profound paradigm shift, in a region until recently characterized by intensive farming practices that are harmful to the environment, and by a high prevalence of illegal crops. In this context, the bet on organic certification contributes to the creation of a post-conflict territory based on a robust socio-economic fabric and on production methods that contribute to the preservation and regeneration of the Amazonian ecosystem.
The Sustainable Territories for Peace in Caquetá project is implemented by IMVF and Red Adelco and financed by the European Union Trust Fund for Peace in Colombia, cofinanced by Camões, I.P., and has contributions from the local government of the Caquetá Department and the municipalities of La Montañita and El Paujil, as well as private Portuguese companies present in Colombia.