Rural cooperatives are a vital part of the Colombian government’s strategy to build peace in communities affected by the armed conflict that was a reality in Colombia for over 50 years. However, while rural communities have transitioned to producing cacao, coffee, fruits, and vegetables, farmers lack the methods and means to compete successfully in the marketplace. As a result, the government has encouraged building associations to help farmers access essential services.
Due to limited financial, social services, technical assistance, skills training, and infrastructure, it is difficult for farmers to engage with competitive markets. As a result, most small producers in the project’s target areas earn less than 50% of the minimum required to meet basic needs. Women and young people, in particular, have the most limited access to assets and resources and are especially vulnerable to poverty.
CDF Canada’s IMPACT Colombia project aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of over 14,000 farmers, reaching 84,000 women, men, and children. The project will also support the sustainable, private-sector business activities of 55 cooperatives and associations of producers in the departments of Antioquia, Tolima, Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Huila, Meta, Valle del Cauca, and the Eje Cafetero (Quindio, Risaralda, and Caldas).
CDF Canada is working in partnership with Colombia’s leading cooperatives and the Government of Colombia to help farmer groups to transform into cooperatives. The project also supports attaining technical, management, and marketing training and crafting business strategies that support gender equity and generational change.
The project provides training on commercial trade among cooperatives and improves rural co-ops’ ability to manage productivity and growth. The project is also helping to enter and expand in new markets and also gain financial knowledge.
The aim is to support smallholder farmers to produce high-demand products and improve their volume and quantity of production in an environmentally sustainable manner.
By the end of IMPACT Colombia, the producer cooperatives and associations will be financially sustainable, expanding product sales locally and internationally.