November 2019 - February 2020
Working with 1,967 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, laying the foundation for legal economies in territories historically affected by illicit crops.
Utilizing 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 over 80% (1,542 women and 425 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.
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 8 new infrastructures and improved another 14. These infrastructrues were identified by the communities as providing the greatest opportunity 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:
- 1 municipal nursery in Anorí
- 3 farmers market facilities 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
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 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 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 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.
The beneficiaries strengthened, and in 3 cases founded, a total of 20 organizations. Through these organizations, they carried out collective activities with greater formality and increased possibilities for growth under the cooperative modality. 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 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 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.
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.