By Carlos Perez, Solidaridad, and Annie Zamora, Fedecacao
The “Digitising of cocoa production in Colombia” project, funded by the UK Prosperity Fund, has been implemented since 2019 by Agricompas and a team of partners with the aim of generating a digital platform to support increased yields and environmental sustainability.
During February 2021 a select sample of cocoa farmers from Ríos de Chocolate association in Rionegro (part of the Santander region) and Producacao association in Andalucía (Valle del Cauca region) met as part of two final farmer workshops.
Results of our two-year project were shared and farmers were introduced to information about the market and value chain in Colombia and Europe.
Our sessions with the farmers started with an inspiring presentation by Galia Orme, owner of Choc Chick, an English chocolate company.
Galia shared with the farmers information about opportunities to access the UK chocolate market, the standards that are required for the UK market, and the most demanded products. In addition, she shared some of the technical qualities that are most prioritized, with special mention of the low-cadmium cocao produced in Colombia and valued by the European market. This was of encouragement to the Colombian farmers.
During these interactive sessions, Fedecacao and Agricompas also launched the value chain report that they had co-produced over the last year. An analysis of the sector, the report is an insightful and beautiful document, available in Spanish here.
The workshop included discussion around the value chain report and growers each received a copy of this publication. The report covers the dynamics of national and international cacao prices, characterisation of the production and consumption of Colombian cocoa, and statistics about the main destinations of the Colombian cacao exports.
Finally, the workshops included an update about the data collection technology and remote sensors used on the farms during during this innovative project and managed by project partner, the University of Lincoln.
A preliminary analysis was presented to growers including farm weather (temperature, rainfall) and production variables, designed to support growers to better understand their farms.
In addition to this information, Solidaridad shared with the farmers a plan to involve them with future data collection: Solidaridad will provide the selected cacao growers with a digital tool to continue collecting basic data on crops and weather conditions.
The “Digitisation of cocoa production in Colombia” project will conclude at the end of March 2021. It has been a successful project and contributed to identifying opportunities for the cacao sector in Colombia based on data collection and analysis.