Marcela Ortiz-Navez, mother and household head, lives in the municipality of Algeciras, Colombia and was trained by the Cacao+Sostenible project to fully lead the organic certification process of the 91 participating farms. This form of cascade training allows her, through technical visits, to guide farmers on good organic practices, as well as auditing processes, ensuring that they are executed correctly.
"I like being a farmer, I like knowing where the raw material comes from, and I like knowing that I am selling an organic cocoa bean that will become the chocolate that we consume in many countries", says Marcela.
The objective of the Cacao+Sostenible project of the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa, co-financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and executed by Swisscontact in alliance with Pakka Foundation, is to leverage sustainable and innovative business models to improve the living conditions of cocoa producer families in Colombia. Pakka Foundation, through its Colombian partner company Equiori has consolidated a sustainable Colombian organic chocolate supply, with long-term commercial relationships between producers, processors, and consumers, preserving the entire value-added in the origin country.
"Organic means better for the consumer and better for the environment. Our products are organic because we want more people to have access to cleaner food in their manufacturing process and products made with chemical-free ingredients. Field production through clean organic farming protects ecosystems, can emphasize soil fertility and biological activity and at the same time minimizes the use of non-renewable resources and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides”, says Juan Muriel, General Manager of Equiori.
The guidance and support from the Cacao+Sostenible project have been wonderful and the trainings give us the knowledge we need for organic production. The mentality of the producers has changed to not use chemicals that are harmful to health, we have changed our way of living and the example we give to our children," says Marcela.
Projects such as Cacao + Sostenible make a difference in countries like Colombia, with great agro-ecological diversity and a large production and export potential. "These types of projects generate positive environmental, economic and social impacts that are measurable. The aim is to increase the income of producer families, with better margins from the sale of cocoa of special quality, produced in agroforestry systems and with traceable information throughout the supply chain," says project coordinator Silvan Ziegler.
"By 2022, I would like cocoa prices to continue improving, I would really like the products to be easily obtained to increase the productivity of the crop, thus improving our living conditions," says Marcela
Consumers in Switzerland can find this great organic chocolate under the Pakka brand.