From 9 to 10 March 2022, cocoa producer associations from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Asoarhuacos, Red Ecolsierra and Guardabosques de la Sierra) in the North of Colombia visited the processing centre of the organization Cortpez in Tumaco, in the southern department of Nariño
During the visit to the Cortepaz association led by Gustavo Mindineros and the entire technical team, the participants shared good practices of sustainable production, in the processes of harvesting, fermentation and drying of cocoa to obtain a high-quality export product with low incidence of environmental impact. The cocoa from Tumaco has been recognised as one of the best in the world and Cortepaz exports fine aroma cocoa to Max Felchlin AG, a leading producer of chocolate and confectionery ingredients in Switzerland.
On the other hand, climate change is affecting cocoa production in Colombia considerably and producer organisations need to find mitigation measures. Oscar Gomez of Guardabosques de la Sierra stated that "the abrupt change in climate has affected crops and therefore productivity due to the high spread of disease". With the support of the Cacao+Sostenible project, Cortepaz maintains demonstration plots that monitor the behaviour of the crop, carrying out phytosanitary control, as well as the organic management of the crop, to reduce the impact of diseases on the crops.
The Cacao+Sostenible project, sponsored by the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa and co-financed by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Swiss Government, seeks to create a space for the socialisation of good agricultural practices and lessons learned within the Colombian cocoa value chain that lead to the production of quality products and an improvement in the living conditions of cocoa farmers, as well as the protection of natural resources and care for the environment in the production processes.
The Cacao Bioandino project, financed by the French Development Agency, seeks to strengthen producer organisations through coordination and the exchange of experiences and knowledge to improve competitiveness and productivity, incorporating inclusive participation and facilitating access to women, young people, as well as indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.