September 26, Miranda, Cauca, Colombia – 20,000 chili pepper plants with a production potential of 55,000 pounds valued at $21,400 have been sown at the Rural Alternative School (ERA) in Miranda, Cauca. This undertaking is thanks to the Commercial Collaborative Alliance among PASO Colombia, Hugo Restrepo & Co., and the two cooperatives of peasants and ex-combatants participating in the ERA.
Hugo Restrepo & Co. exports chili peppers to the United States, the European Union, and Saudi Arabia. This partner of PASO Colombia provides the seeds, training, technical assistance, and transportation for the product and has provided a mill to be installed at the ERA, and is committed to buying all the production output of these plants during the 14 months of their productive lifespan. This commercial agreement can be renewed with new sowing.
This partnership will generate two permanent jobs for 14 months and 15 temporary jobs during the course of eight months. Profits will be distributed among those in the two participating cooperatives of peasants and ex-combatants.
The ERA of Miranda operates in an area ceded by the ASPROZONAC Peasant Farmer Reserve Zone in order to develop pedagogical and productive projects in partnership with ex-combatants who are in the reincorporation process. Now, with the support of PASO Colombia, peasants belonging to this community are applying for credit with the Agrarian Bank to facilitate new agreements with Hugo Restrepo & Co. to sow 60,000 additional chili pepper plants. In this way, the Rural Alternative School’s model, together with the Commercial Collaborative Alliance generated, not only provide income and training for ex-combatants but also contribute to building broader governance networks that make peace sustainable in the long term.