The participants of the Rural Alternative School (ERA) of Anorí sold their first 250kgs of honey under the brand “Miel de la montaña – Voluntad de paz” (Mountain Honey - Will of Peace). The 29 ERA participants are ex-combatants organized through the Multiactive Cooperative for the development of the Northeast of Antioquia (COOMULDESNA) and have been supported by PASO Colombia in their beekeeping project since February 2019.
The municipality of Anori was isolated by war for decades. Paradoxically this isolation was useful to protect the biodiversity of the region. With the implementation of the Peace Agreement, residents, ex-combatants, and foreigners came together to safeguard the area. This is why ERA participants prioritized beekeeping and environmental conservation activities on a 200-hectare plot of land (almost 70% of which is native forest), protecting the ecosystem of this Colombian biodiversity hotspot. PASO helped to establish 16 apiaries that, during the training and cultivation process, were expanded to 32.
Andrés Zuluaga, manager of COOMULDESNA, said to Blu Radio: “There is a lot of help from different sectors of the society that learn about what we are doing and offer us their support. For example, the National Learning Service (SENA) trained us and PASO Colombia delivered the apiaries.”
By the end of 2019, the honey being produced in this ERA was integrated into the brand “Confecciones La Montaña”, which brings together multiple products made by ex-combatants. The stock of Mountain Honey was entirely sold in less than 24 hours thanks to its promotion via social media.