In El Dovio, municipality of Valle del Cauca department, 12 families of the association AELEDEN received chickens and feed for the establishment of poultry projects in their homes. The chickens and feed were part of the closing phase of the Contingency Plan to Support Ex-Coca Grower Families that has been implemented since November 2019. The women beneficiaries also attended training sessions that provided them with the knowledge to develop new projects around animal husbandry as a legal alternative to coca crops. The women participating in the Contingency Plan also helped to remodel a building to serve as a storage center to facilitate the commercialization of the agricultural products from their organizations.
The association AELEDEN was created when the families of the municipality joined the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Crops of Illicit Use (PNIS). María Nohelia Ramírez, its legal representative, says, "At the beginning they complied well, but then with the food security aid there were delays. We had been insisting on this, and when PASO Colombia arrived the contribution was wonderful because they taught the people the importance of association, commercialization and distribution, which are the most important things in the countryside.”
Another achievement at El Dovio was the organization of a farmers market in Roldanillo, together with the associations ASOCULSAN and ASOPANAR of Bolivar.
Watch the video below to learn more about the farmers market in Roldanillo
However, the quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow the farmers market to continue, despite its positive impact on the participating families. The members of AELEDEN are now seeking new strategies to commercialize their agricultural products and take advantage of the lessons learned from their experience so far.
Nohelia shares how the fear of losing income after eradicating their coca crops is persistent among the families registered in the program. But now, thanks to the experience with the Contingency Plan, she explains that "to complete the puzzle there is always a missing card, and that pending card has come through with PASO Colombia, which has come to contribute to our projects and which have given good results because they come with the right foot.” Within AELEDEN, 89 families are working to leave behind the anxiety of living off of coca crops. They believe that in order to succeed, they must support the value chains for legal agricultural production and distribution, including the establishment of farmer markets throughout their region.
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.