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  • Writer's pictureJon Ferguson

Exploring Riosierra, Colombia

The Ecotierra Impact Report for 2021 provides an extensive multi-faceted review of the holistic approach which has been developed to meet organizational goals. To explore the impact report more in-depth, we are dedicating the weekly ElevaFinca communications to selections of the report, continuing with the second investment made by the URAPI fund in the buffer zone of the Sierra Nevada National Park in Colombia.

Through RioSierra, the goal is to invest in the development of value chains and associated coffee and cocoa products in a sustainable manner, while reducing deforestation and land degradation, and promoting the economic development of its partners through:

  • Financial support for land restoration with the installation of sustainable agroforestry systems for coffee, cocoa, and honey production.

  • The generation of carbon credits through a certified VCS project.

  • The establishment and adaptation of facilities for the collection and processing of agroforestry products and the production of organic fertilizers and pesticides.

  • The marketing of coffee, cocoa, honey, and carbon credits at competitive prices.

Adriana Gamboa is responsible for structuring, socializing, and evaluating the Technical Packages for coffee, cocoa, and honey, as well as supporting the carbon project and processing operations. She talks about her experience during RioSierra's first year of operation.

What were the biggest challenges in 2021? The biggest challenge in achieving the goals set for the area has been the alignment of the different actors (Red Ecolsierra and partners) and the RioSierra areas involved in the program for land use change into agroforestry systems, in terms of time, technical concepts, activities, planting periods (climatic conditions), administrative and financial aspects, and other variables. This makes it difficult to make progress within the time frame required for the program and the implementation of the technical packages. What milestone are you most proud of? The milestone that I am most proud of is the participatory socialization of the protocols and technical packages which set the foundation and cost for each one of them. These socializations reached Ecolsierra Network partners at 14 different locations, with approximately 220 attendees.

Adriana Gamboa

Technical and Operational Director at RioSierra

Finally, what do you think is the most innovative aspect of RioSierra's work that should be replicated by other people and organizations?

It seems to me that the most innovative aspect, including the carbon credit project, is the URAPI Fund's investment strategy in RioSierra, articulated with the Ecolsierra Network. By assuming the risks, responsibilities, work, and mutual commitments, it will allow for the future economic, financial, and technical strengthening of the producers' organizations. It will benefit from each of the companies created and will make their organizations evolve to an important level. In this way, the livelihood of the producers will be positively influenced by profitable and sustainable enterprises and programs.

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