Working with 1,968 families in 10 municipalities throughout the country, PASO Colombia’s Contingency Plan To Support Ex-Coca Grower Families transformed an emergency situation into an opportunity for collaborative capacity building, leveraging the local assets and laying the foundation for legal economies in territories historically affected by illicit crops.
Adopting a cash for work strategy was crucial in this regard. Using this approach, the beneficiary communities became partners in the sustainable development of their territories, by involving them in the planning and training, and paying them to work on the execution of the productive activities necessary to generate alternative value chains to coca. Besides delivering the economic resources required by the families, the Contingency Plan approach succeeded in encouraging the attendance of more than 300 hours of on-the-job training aimed at strengthening collaborative and productive networks in each of the beneficiary territories.
With female representation close to 80% (1,545 women and 423 men), the Contingency Plan allowed young women, heads of household, and female leaders to empower themselves and cultivate gender parity opportunities through joint work.
The Contingency Plan to Support Ex-coca Grower Families is funded by the UN Multipartner Trust Fund for Sustaining Peace in Colombia, and implemented by PASO Colombia in coordination with the Presidential Office for Stabilization and Consolidation.
Find out how thanks to the Contingency Plan we are building A Network for Peace and Security in Colombia within the framework of the Global Governance Forum UN75.
The following were the most relevant achievements of the implementation of the Contingency Plan, according to its 4 lines of action:
In partnership with government organizations and private companies, the Contingency Plan's partner communities built 10 new infrastructures and improved another 16. These infrastructures were identified by the communities as providing the greatest opportunity to leverage the productive assets they had for increased collaboration and production. These works will enable them to carry out commercial, agricultural or tourist activities, in favorable work environments, and with greater technical efficiency, thus boosting alternative and legal value chains in the territories:
- 1 municipal nursery in Anorí
- 4 farmers market facilities plus working equipment in La Macarena, Miranda, and El Dovio
- 1 coffee processing plant
- 1 fish farm in Miranda
- 1 chicken incubator in Puerto Asís
- 1 trapiche to process sugarcane in Puerto Asís
- 4 community centers in Puerto Asís, Tibú and Dagua
- 1 cassava processing plant in Puerto Guzmán
- 1 fruit processing plant in San José del Guaviare
- 3 product collection centers in San José del Guaviare, Dagua and Bolivar
- 1 brick production facility in San José del Guaviare
- 1 school in Tibú
- 1 biofactory in Caño Indio, Tibú
- 1 tourist reception center in Dagua
- 1 honey production facility supported with working equipment in Puerto Asís
- 1 feed factory in Miranda
- 1 brick production plant supported with working equipment in Puerto Asís
- 1 meeting room and office in Puerto Asís.
The Contingency Plan’s partner communities employed strategies to make their production processes more profitable and more sustainable, with a view of offering cleaner and close to organic products in both crop farming and animal breeding. These were the main achievements of the Food Production line of action:
The beneficiaries learned how to make their own natural fertilizers and animal feed, using local raw materials, and taking advantage of elements that they once discarded.
They learned how to implement cost-effective, simple, natural, and clean pest control strategies for their crops.
After being certified as nurserywomen, 41 women who work in the municipal nursery of Anorí are selling food and high-quality natural fertilizers to local producers. The growing of fruit and aromatic plant species will also be useful for their productive projects, in addition to other species that will help in reforestation efforts throughout the municipality.
The communities put in place strategies to improve their food security, both for food supply and demand. They established community orchards and production agreements between farms, managing access to a nutritious food supply without having to travel to the urban areas, and offering some of their production in virtual peasant markets. This has been especially useful for families during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The beneficiaries of the marketing line of action recognized and implemented strategies before, during, and after establishing their peasant markets, improving their commercial effectiveness. The following are the highlights of this line of action:
The beneficiaries learned how to do surveys to measure the productive potential of local farms, and to seize business opportunities from their activities.
They were able to analyze in detail the operations of the local market. Afterward, they communicated strategically with local stakeholders.
Under the leadership of a network of 400 Market Builders women, peasant markets were established in the 10 municipalities where the Contingency Plan took place. The women used what they learned in the improvement of productive practices and associative strengthening, including the marketing of their products, and how to avoid brokers to increase their profits.
The Market Builders were also involved in approaching buyers, markets and wholesale alliances, like the Cauca Valley Supply Center CAVASA, COTELCO of the hotel guild and ACODRES of the restaurant guild. They also made contact with 12 hotels and clubs in the Cauca Valley.
Faced with the challenges proposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, partner communities of the Contingency Plan in Anorí and San José del Guaviare took advantage of the knowledge acquired to devise e-commerce strategies with which they managed to carry out 3 virtual and bio-secure peasant markets.
The beneficiaries strengthened, and in 3 cases founded, a total of 28 productive organizations. Through these organizations, they carried out collective activities with greater formality and increased possibilities for growth under the cooperative modality, which at the territorial level contributed to the strengthening of local governance networks. These are the organizations that were most strengthened:
- Nearly 40 women from Anorí, now certified as nurserywomen, founded the multi-active cooperative COOMULSEPAZ. Through this cooperative, they will be able to continue the project of the municipal nursery of Anorí, whose infrastructure they recovered during the Contingency Plan. The cooperative will be able to submit diverse projects to the local, departmental and national authorities to contribute to the sustainable development of their territory.
The ASOYUPGUZ cooperative in the municipality of Puerto Guzmán, Putumayo was strengthened by making improvements to the technology being utilized in the production of cassava.
The legal constitution of the Agroecoturistic Cooperative of the Río Anchicayá basin (CORTUCÁN) was supported. CORTUCÁN is made up, among others, of families registered in the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops (PNIS), from the La Cascada municipality of Dagua. These familes live in the Farallones de Cali National Park and seek to boost eco-tourism in the area.
- The pre-cooperative, COOPNIS, was created, bringing together all the cooperatives of marketers in the municipalities of Dagua, El Dovio, Bolívar and Miranda, which became partners of the Contingency Plan. The establishment of COOPNIS will make it possible, for members to bring their products to scale from regional markets to more developed, centralized markets.
The differential approach of the Contingency Plan allowed its development to respond to the variety of needs and realities of populations, such as Indigenous, AfricanColombian, children and adolescents, and with particular emphasis on providing effective tools for women's empowerment in managerial roles within productive and community processes.
This cross-cutting line of action allowed for parent beneficiaries of the Contigency Plan to leave their children under the care of properly trained people, allowing them to participate in training and community work sessions.
The achievements and impact of the Contingency Plan To Support Ex-Coca Grower Families will continue to be crucial as the next phases of the PNIS program are being implemented.