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Community Contribution

Afro-Colombian Cocoa Farmers Form Private-Public Partnership in the Conflict-Affected Municipality of Tumaco


As part of a larger initiative managed by USAID/Colombia, one of the explicit strategic objectives has been to identify innovative ways to attract and retain private sector investment and presence in conflict-affected areas. To this end, USAID/Colombia, through its CELI N/S initiative, facilitated a public-private partnership between Tumaco's Afro-descendent collective landholding territories and one of Colombia's largest cacao buyers, Casa Luker. While this partnership has helped more than 5,600 small cacao farmers sell nearly US$5.8 million worth of cacao after nearly two years, it has experienced a series of challenges, requiring CELI N/S to collaborate with partners, learn from lessons, and continually adapt to ensure success and sustainability. For the most part, the CELI N/S initiative has viewed its role as an honest broker between parties by supporting three main objectives: (1) neutrality between parties, (2) independence from making business decisions, and (3) knowledge about the cacao value chain. Through a methodology that empowers local actors to take the lead in their own development initiatives, CELI N/S has worked with community actors, the private sector, and other partners to adjust its original intervention and further collaborate to help farmers continue to define better transaction terms with buyers and access the investments they need to increase productivity and revenues.


This case study was submitted as part of USAID's CLA Case Competition, held in August 2015. Taken together, this collection of submissions illustrates the diversity of ways collaborating, learning, and adapting approaches are being operationalized in the field. Stringent judging criteria was used to determine official CLA Case Competition winners, so not all submissions should be considered an official USAID endorsement of best practice. To view all entries, visit the CLA Case Competition page.

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