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From illicit crops to legality: Transforming lives with cocoa

Colombia © Sebastián Camelo, SOCODEVI

For decades, Colombia has struggled with the increase of illicit crops, but through a program funded by Canada, there’s a glimmer of hope.

Cocoa has become a profitable alternative for agricultural producers such as Euber Rodríguez, a farmer from La Hormiga, Putumayo. More than a decade ago, he stopped growing illicit crops and became a cocoa farmer. In December 2020, he won the Golden Cocoa Regional Contest, which recognizes the producer of the best cocoa in the Putumayo region during the past year.

“Before, I did not live with tranquility, you cannot live peacefully with those crops. But since I started with cocoa, my life has improved in all aspects", says Rodríguez. “This award was possible thanks to the support of the Agroemprende Cacoa project. Since they arrived, the quality of my crops has improved substantially and the profitability has multiplied.”

The project is co-financed by Canada and the national petroleum company Ecopetrol and implemented by SOCODEVI. It has benefited the cocoa sector by using a unique project funding model called Results-Based Financing (RBF), which seeks to maximize results from a cost-efficiency perspective. The cacoa project is the first time Canada has piloted this innovative funding approach.

Now, thanks to cocoa, Canadian support and innovative thinking, the lives of thousands of people are changing for the better in conflict-affected territories of Colombia.

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