U.S. Embassy and Center of Tropical Agriculture Launch Soil Mapping Project to Advance Cacao for Peace Program in Colombia
The U.S. Embassy in Colombia recently met with the International Center of Tropical Agriculture in Cali to launch a soil mapping project intended to spur more production of cocao, the base ingredient of chocolate.
Along with partners in Colombia and abroad, the embassy is working to better understand the earth and water conditions for agricultural production and genetic research in the coastal region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Photo: A cocao plant growing in central Colombia. (Credit: Jared Wade)
The larger goal of supporting the industry through education and technical assistance is aimed at driving crop substitution efforts to get farmers of coca, the leaves used to produce cocaine, to begin growing legal crops through the embassy’s Cacao for Peace program.
Bo Mathiasen, the Colombian representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), attended the meeting alongside Philip Laidlaw, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy.
Others stakeholders involved in the Cocao for Peace program include the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Cacao Producers Federation, and Penn State University in the United States.
“This new project seeks to help cocao growers to increase their productivity and thus help to sow the peace that Colombia deserves,” said Laidlaw.