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a report from colombia

Posted: July 26 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

The ICRC supports a cocoa-farming project being spearheaded by farmers in the San Miguel region of Putumayo department. For the families taking part in the project, cocoa is a livelihood alternative, enabling them to support themselves and strengthen their foothold in a region that has been wracked by armed conflict for many years.
Although the price of cocoa is falling, Argemiro Melo is anxiously awaiting the waning moon to plant out the 250 cocoa seedlings he has in the nursery. He is not the only one whose hopes are riding on this crop; hundreds of farmers living in the rural San Miguel region of Putumayo department (bordering Ecuador) now depend on cocoa as their main source of income.
Argemiro is originally from Nariño department but he came to the town of Canadá in the 1970s to earn a living. Like his neighbours, the family's livelihood used to come from growing coca, but this all changed at the end of the last decade with the crackdown on coca production. The end of coca production in the area also heralded the departure of four of his five sons, who left for Nariño and Ecuador in search of work. "I want to bring my family back together. Growing cocoa means a fresh start for us," he said.
red hook, new york


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