Improvement of the Cacao Value Chain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Improving Opportunities for Arhuaco Indigenous Communities

Background Narrative

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the world’s highest coastal range and located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The biodiverse haven is home to Arhuaco indigenous communities, which have inhabited the Sierra for generations. ACDI/VOCA first worked with Arhuaco small-scale cocoa producers to increase yields, improve bean quality, and create sustainable links to the specialty cocoa market, under the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Program.

These Arhuaco producers have secured a transparent and profitable business relationship with Cacao Hunters, a specialty chocolate producer. Cacao Hunters has committed to buying all the cocoa beans that the Arhuaco can produce and has guaranteed a premium price that is significantly higher than the standard cocoa market’s. Under the Improvement of the Cacao Value Chain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta project, ACDI/VOCA is continuing to support indigenous families as they recover from the impact of armed conflict. The project aims to help Arhuaco farmers improve the quality of porcelain cocoa beans, which contain valuable genetic material and are difficult to find, as well as strengthen their processing and commercialization.

  • Expand support for the improvement of porcelain cocoa and the recovery of 148 families.
  • Strengthen organizational capacity to improve producers’ access to markets
  • Increase productivity per hectare of land and improve the quality of cocoa through good agricultural practices in processing and drying
  • Provide tools and equipment to boost productivity
  • Construct a drying and processing center and storage facility
  • Support learning exchanges and experiences
  • 30 leaders trained in good agricultural practices
  • 160 hectares of cocoa rehabilitated
  • 89 toolkits delivered to families
  • 1 storage facility constructed

Funder: Corporate Donor
Budget: US$311,584
Contact: Yamil A. Roger Nasser at

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