BCtA Membership StatusActive
Sustainable Harvests Strengthening Communities in Colombia
Natural food company Corpocampo joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) in August 2017 by pledging to integrate 600 new families into its açaí palm value chain by 2020, providing smallholder suppliers and local plant employees from Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities with sustainable livelihoods through the production of its wild-harvested natural products.
The Colombian Pacific areas where Corpocampo operates have been one of the focal points of the country's internal conflict, with high rates of poverty and crop growing for illicit use. After identifying the need to generate production alternatives, Corpocampo worked with recipients of crop substitution through alternative development programs, linking the farmers to a legal and stable value chain, guaranteeing the purchase of produce at a fair price. In some areas of the country, such as in Guapi (municipality of Cauca), this is the only source of employment. Operation in these territories can be made difficult by insecurity, and the lack of access roads, which increases the costs of logistics.
Currently the company sells to retail stores in Colombia and abroad. Around 80 percent of sales goes to the communities. Today, Corpocampo generates more than 180 direct jobs for female heads of households and benefits about 1,200 families through the sustainable use of the palm of naidí/acai. By working with these communities on the sustainable extraction of native trees for its wild-harvested food products, the company ensures a long-term supply of quality products as well as stable, livable incomes for local extractors and processors.
The company’s model tackles the challenges of access and transport costs by keeping the entire value chain close to home. This includes opening up a new market for açaí palm products within Colombia: despite high demand in the international market, local demand for palm hearts and açaí berries is weak. In response, Corpocampo designed a range of products based on the trees’ fruit to satisfy the market needs.
In addition to employing local people in harvesting, selecting, washing, pulping and processing raw produce for sale as sorbet, pulp, powder, jam and other products, Corpocampo provides farmers with technical assistance in the proper care and maintenance of the trees. It also commits to buying 100 percent of farmers’ harvests at a long-term fair price and supplying transport logistics – guaranteeing them decent revenues throughout the entire year. The crops are managed in an organic way, promoting agroforestry systems and the conservation of native species. They have national and international quality certifications, such as USDA Organic and Bio for the USA and European Union markets respectively. Also, they are Ecocert certified, ensuring an environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.
In order to expand farmers’ incomes from sustainable açaí palm production, the company has pledged to assist its smallholder suppliers in preparing an additional 200 hectares of land belonging to a local farming collective for palm heart of palm and açaí berry extraction. In the process of making these lands more productive, açaí palm harvesting is becoming more sustainable. The company estimates it will increase farmers’ incomes by 5 percent or more in the next three years.
About Corpocampo: Founded in 2003, Corpocampo has production plants in the Colombian Pacific jungles, on the banks of the Guapi River and in the cities of Guapi Cauca and Tumaco Nariño. In association with the Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous people of the region, the company has been fostering the continual production of the wild palm açaí palm (Euterpe Oleracea), from which heart of palm and the acai berries are extracted through a system that guarantees the sustainability of the resource. While exporting its products to France, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands and Mexico, Corpocampo is expanding its domestic market as well. For more information about Corpocampo and its range of products, visitwww.acaicorpocampo.co.
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