On the southern pacific coast of Colombia, Tumaco is a region that has been hard hit by historic political conflict and plagued by narco trafficking. The predominantly Afro-Colombian population has faced a great deal of prejudice and sustainable local development has been hijacked by extensive penetration of paramilitary and narco groups.
When Cacao de Colombia first explored the region back in 2011, they found cacao everywhere; drying on any flat surface farmers could find, including the road. The sheer volume of cacao was overwhelming, and the opportunity for quality and systemic improvement was obvious.
Cacao de Colombia has worked with three community cooperatives to introduce centralized processing and drying. Because of the introduction of centralized processing and Cacao de Colombia’s expertise in high-quality flavor development, farmers today earn 70% more income from cacao than they did when selling dried beans to the commodity market supply chain, and have a true sustainable alternative to coca production or involvement in the narco groups.
"While you are paid $ 2,200 per kilo of cacao in baba, they can pay you triple for less coca leaf, which is harvested in less time."
~ Gabriel, a farmer from the Tumaco region