Choco4Peace is an innovative business model that uses cacao as an economic tool to support peacebuilding by generating socioeconomic and environmental impacts in post-conflict regions. The absence of peace correlates closely with the lack of sustainable development and fair profits.
One of the most compelling examples of this phenomenon is the Colombian cacao sector. There are approximately 38,000 cacao farmers in Colombia, and of these farmers 90% are smallholders and 73% live below the poverty line. This is mainly due to a lack of access to markets and fair prices, investment, capacity building, insurance, technology and an inadequate governance and policy framework.
In addition, artificially depressed prices for premium “fino de aroma” cacao put producers under pressure to revert to the production of cocaine in order to survive. Strong demand for cocaine bolsters the illegal armed groups which destabilize Latin American societies by undermining the authority of governments and the rule of law, and eroding transparency and the trust of citizens.
Following the 2016 peace agreement that ended a war lasting over 50 years with the FARC (Colombia’s largest guerrilla group), the Colombian government has identified over 100,000 hectares of coca plantations in post-conflict regions. To date, 77,000 families have voluntarily agreed to remove their coca plants. However, participation of the private sector is crucial to mobilize capital and provide the education and tools necessary for a farmer’s success in sustainably replacing their coca crop without suffering financial ruin.
Starting in Colombia, Choco4Peace is focused on empowering smallholders, particularly women, youth and indigenous people willing to transition from the production of cocaine to the cultivation of specialty “fino de aroma” cacao. This is accomplished by using smart-contract Blockchain technology to create a Decentralized Inclusive Economic Network (DIEN). This network aggregates cacao producers with stakeholders from the cacao industry, giving cacao entrepreneurs access to markets and fair prices, investment, capacity building, insurance, technology. Within this platform, the presence of transparency and traceability mitigates risk, mobilizes investments, and builds trust among members.
By promoting the growth of cacao, Choco4Peace not only diminishes the production of cocaine, but works toward solving the critical cacao supply deficit of 1 million tons per year (by 2020) while striving to meet six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) from the United Nations.
QWhat positive social or environmental do you aim to generate?
No Poverty End poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Choco4Peace’s program guarantees a premium for all cacao produced and sold within our network. Additionally, we increase the farm gate price for cacao production for all members. Lastly, to meet this goal, Choco4Peace will increase the revenue of cacao producers within our program by 50%.
Gender Equality Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Choco4Peace ensures effective participation and equal opportunities for all women participating in our program, including leadership at all decision-making levels. Within our economic network, we aim to empower up to 80 women by providing them with the tools, technology and access to finance necessary for them to be successful. 8: “Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
Decent Work and Economic Growth Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.” Choco4Peace’s economic network provides previously isolated farmers with access to markets and financial services, furthering economic growth by connecting producers to markets in order to fulfill demand. Our program also promotes support for farming families, who will have the stable income necessary to keep food on the table and raise healthy children. Of the tools provided to cacao producers who enter into our network, proper training on the implementation of more sustainable and ethical practices is included, providing farmers with a safe work environment. 100% of the farmers within our program are ensured access to the technology necessary to bring about economic growth and a stable work environment.
Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Choco4Peace’s vision includes several goals prioritizing sustainability and responsible habits along our supply chain. By 2020, 100% of cacao beans cultivated, traded and sold using blockchain technology will be completely traceable. By 2025, at least 50% of producers within our ecosystem will be involved in processes to obtain certification in sustainable practices, at least 20% of our producers will be already cultivating with certification in sustainable practices, and 50% of land used within our ecosystem will be under sustainable practices.
Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts Choco4Peace is combating climate change by promoting good agricultural practices to all the farmers within our economic network. Our program also will include the management of all chemicals and waste throughout the cycle through the implementation of our own water and waste management program, in accordance with international guidelines. By 2025, 600 hectares of land will be cultivated under agroforestry practices.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.” By supplementing the Colombian government’s effort to help farmers transition to cacao cultivation with revenue from the private sector, Choco4Peace is committed to building peace within Colombia and greater Latin America by reducing contribution to the coca sector, while promoting economic growth through the cacao sector. With more farmers cultivating cacao and enjoying economic stability, Choco4Peace contributes to the construction of peace within Colombia, from which will follow justice and strong institutions.
QWhat has your organisation enabled so far in quantified terms (e.g. 20% efficiency gain, 100 beneficiaries received aid in the past six months) and what are the next steps?
QWhy are you specifically using blockchain in your project?