“The Enel Group's commitment to the country is not only related to being energy suppliers, but also to contributing to the development of the regions where we are present through long-term shared value programs and projects that contribute to their economic strengthening. We saw in this alliance an opportunity to continue contributing to an important line of the local economy, such as cocoa, because Huila is a relevant player in the country, ranking fourth as cocoa exporter region”
Strengthening the productive chains in Huila
At Enel-Emgesa we have been present in Huila for more than 20 years, supporting its growth and promoting competitiveness, not only through the operation of our generation plants, but also through the strengthening of agricultural, livestock and fish production chains, all of which constitute important lines of income and employment in the department. Cocoa Effect, which is carried out in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), Eafit, Luker Foundation, Luker Chocolate and Saldarriaga Concha Foundation, will allow us to contribute to the department's cocoa development over the next 30 years through the generation of an inclusive rural development model.
To begin, Efecto Cacao will link seven cocoa associations and promote ten entrepreneurship initiatives for farmer families as part of its objective of supporting small cocoa producers in the department. But this is only the beginning, as the program also includes the intervention of more than 750 hectares dedicated to the cultivation of cocoa in the municipalities of Garzón, Gigante, El Pital, El Agrado, Campoalegre and Rivera, and the creation of an anchor crop in an area of 120 hectares located in the municipality of El Agrado, which Enel-Emgesa will donate.
In this anchor crop a benefit center will be created, on the La Escalereta property, where a consistent flavor and quality profile will be sought in the region thanks to a uniform process that includes fermentation and drying of cocoa coming from the business crop and the farmers linked to the project. In this way, and thanks also to the use of seedlings of elite cocoa varieties, an excellent quality result will be guaranteed for the chocolate production.
Transformation of the rural country
The legal representative of the Association of Agricultural Producers of the municipality of El Agrado (Asoproagrado), Carlos Agustín Losada, says that for cocoa farmers the most worrying issue has always been the price. His association is one of the seven linked to the program in Huila, and its members will also benefit in this regard, as he explains, not because the price is going to rise, but because income will increase as productivity increases. One of the goals of the program, in fact, is to reach an average production of 800 kilos of cocoa per hectare in smallholder crops, 160% more than the current production.
“Transformation is the one word to sum up this project, in every sense of the word. Transformation in the economic part as well as transformation in the business part, as people”
To achieve this, Cocoa Effect will provide technical support throughout the entire process. 800 producing families will be able to count on this support that has as its ultimate goal, in addition to increasing productivity, achieving a change of mentality in producers so that this new scenario is maintained over time. The idea, as they also understand it at Asoproagrado, is to become entrepreneurs thanks to the Cocoa Effect training, because although cocoa farmers know how to grow the plant, sometimes they do not know how to take advantage of their production due to lack of business knowledge. In this way, at Enel-Emgesa we will continue to support the development of Huila, where we have been present for 20 years, through comprehensive projects that will improve the quality of life of its inhabitants over the next 30 years.