AGRICOOP Colombia, from trust to co-operative economy

The pilot phase of Coopermondo’s project in the Cauca Region is completed. Sixty direct beneficiaries representative of 35 farmers organizations and more than 6 thousand indirect beneficiaries. Now the second phase of the project begins: including in the Departmental Development Plan the creation of a second level service cooperative in the five sectors identified (fish farming, coffee, panela, quinoa, fruit).


 After one year of training and technical assistance on the Italian cooperative model, the Agricoop project has encouraged the creation of a new trust network of producers in the Cauca Region. Today, in Popayan, sixty small producers, of which 36 women, of 35 active farmers’ organisations operating in five sectors (panela, coffee, quinoa, fruit and aquaculture) have received their certificates of participation in the Agricoop Colombia project, of which they have been beneficiaries this year.   “Agricoop Colombia, the Italian cooperative experience for social inclusion, economic development and peace building among local producers of the Cauca Region” is a pilot project of international cooperation financed by the Instituto Italo – Latino Americano and conducted by Coopermondo, the NGO Confcooperative (the Confederation of Italian cooperatives) in collaboration with Confecoop Colombia (the Confederation of Colombian cooperatives). The project was carried out between May 2015 and February 2016 and has created the basis for finding common solutions to individual problems of small farmers in the area of Cauca and Silvia and has indirectly benefited up to 6,000 people in the district.


  Trust is a key word in economics: without trust among economic agents no business can operate. Therefore, to develop a united, dynamic and economically active and sustainable social tissue, the first step has to be ensuring social cohesion in the territory.


 The new network of producers, who had the time to known and trust each others better, will begin a journey together, for each production sector, towards building or strengthening of agricultural and acquacolture cooperatives. The next phase of the project involves the creation of a second level service cooperative (Consortium of cooperatives) that may transform products into end products with more added value, reducing costs to producers, leaving aside intermediaries and diversifying product offer. These cooperatives will create decent work for young people – who represent the majority of the population in many areas – who will receive technical assistance and training both in Italy and Colombia.


 “We are very satisfied with the work done by our project manager, Fernando Bragado, and our local partners: the workers and volunteers of Organizaciones Solidarias, SENA, Fundacion Promover, Fundacion Mutual Semilla, Adel Casa del Agua, Asociacion Mestizo Colombia and the great contribution of the Interior Department of Cauca”, said the Director of Coopermondo, Danilo Salerno. “Now the most important thing to do is not to lose the good energy that has been created between the participants and start building something concrete”.

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