Logo Tropentag

Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Cocoa sustainable business models and poverty traps in rural areas of Colombia

Martha Lilia Del Río Duque1, Marcos Lana2, Michelle Chevelev-Bonatti1, Miguel Romero3, Tatiana Rodríguez1, Augusto Castro-Nunez3, Stefan Sieber1

1Leibniz Centre for Agric. Landscape Res. (ZALF), Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries (SusLAND), Germany
2Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Crop Production Ecology, Sweden
3The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Multifunctional Landscapes, Colombia


Cacao agroforestry systems with an organic management plan are promising sustainable solutions for fostering climate change mitigation and peacebuilding processes. Cacao crop in the country grows in regions with contrasting socioecological problems. According to ICCO, 95% of their exports are recognised as fine or aroma cocoa. Despite this feature, almost 80% of cacao production is purchased for a domestic market and without any certification or as bulk cacao. The current cocoa business model is dominated by middlemen who buy cacao beans in the pulp (en baba). This type of business leads to a poverty trap. In that vein, assessing promising sustainable business models and analysing poverty traps is crucial to the co-creating of economic profits, and social and environmental benefits in rural areas of Colombia.

We used a two-phase mixed methods design in two regions with significant potential, although contrasting, to promote cacao, Caquetá, and Cesar. Firstly, deploying a deliberative focus group methodology we did two regional discussion workshops with the cacao growers (approx. 50 farmers) in these two regions. Through these workshops, we analysed the consistency and effectiveness of a sustainable cocoa business model. For this purpose, we presented the producers' perspective on six sustainability indicators: income, costs, yields, associativity, knowledge generation, soil improvement, biodiversity, and robustness and stability in cocoa sales.

Secondly, we used a quantitative approach consisting of a household survey with 929 cacao growers in Caquetá and Cesar to elicit the effects of the type of business and sales channels on poverty and sustainability of cacao farming in these contrasting regions. The dependence on the intermediaries plays a huge role in the household decision-making process, as a result, it can determine whether the household falls into a cocoa growing sales channel –sustainable agriculture trap or falls out of it.

Results showed that for producers fermentation and drying on the farm, organic farming practices, genetic material suitable for the region, proper water management, and selling associatively to buyers involved in the development of more sustainable crop systems is the way to achieve positive changes in income, costs, yields, biodiversity, soils, and to overcome poverty traps.

Keywords: Agroforestry, business model, equity, sustainable supply chain

Contact Address: Martha Lilia Del Río Duque, Leibniz Centre for Agric. Landscape Res. (ZALF), Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries (SusLAND), Eberswalder Straße 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany, e-mail: Martha_Lilia.Del_Rio_Duque@zalf.de

Valid HTML 3.2!