Returning to Traditional Cacao Production in Colombia
Communities in the Colombia-Chocó program are turning from growing coca to raising native cacao (pronounced ca-COW) trees, whose fruit is processed into cocoa powder and chocolate. They traditionally lived off agriculture and fishing, but because of the economic isolation and lack of alternative employment in the region, many in this vulnerable population began illegally planting coca for the production of coca paste, to be made into cocaine. This was a highly lucrative but extremely dangerous activity. Colombian armed forces then began forcible fumigations to kill coca plants, once again plunging people into unemployment and risk.The program is now adding the cultivation of cacao to rice production as a way for the communities to produce their own food, earn income, and improve their quality of life.