Cacao for Peace

Cacao for Peace


Phil Laidlaw: One of the challenges that Columbia
faces after 50 years of insurgency is the extent of illicit crops and illicit cultivation
that feeds crime, that feeds instability, and that feeds insecurity throughout the country. One of the promises of this program is the
ability to substitute illicit crops, like coca, which is used to make cocaine, with
licit high value, high value chain crop that can provide farmers with a way to advance,
provide communities with a way to move forward and be prosperous and at peace. Bo Mathiasen: What we want is, of course,
to build an economy which is very much based on culture of legality. Juan Gallego: The goal of this is to make
Columbia another main processor of fine flavored cacao in the world. Mark Guiltinan: So this was day three of a series
of workshops at three different associations over the last three days and we’re really
excited how they went. Mark Guiltinan: The main struggles that these
farmers are facing are low yields and diseases and pests. They lose up to 30-40% of the crop every year. Megan Baumann: It’s been neat more than anything
to see the partnerships that are forming within the commune communities. I’ve been really inspired to see the young
cacao farmers who want to stay in the rural areas. Bo Mathiasen: This is a very good start, it could
become a very important model for the rest of Columbia. Phil Laidlaw: The land grant consortiums been
essential to this process, the universities in the United States that know these issues,
that know issues of agriculture, of extension and other things, and this process wouldn’t
be happening without the land grant universities.

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