A new vision for long-term and sustainably sourced agri-commodities

Colombia has thriving landscapes that produce a multitude of agri-commodities such as cocoa, fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy. It is also the third largest producer of coffee in the world and has huge potential and drive to become a leading example in the field of sustainable sourcing of produce. This was seen through its commitment to deforestation-free cocoa in 2018, marking Colombia as the first Latin-American country to do so. Since then, the development of a sustainable landscapes strategy for Colombia which was presented by IDH to the Board of AgroColombia Productiva y Sostenible has come into fruition. This strategy has brought together key players for the construction of the Protection, Production, Inclusion (PPI) compacts in the departments of Cesar, Huila and Magdalena as part of the Landscapes Approach.

The landscapes approach has been shown to be effective in building long-term multisectoral commitments, with an initial focus on building transparent and long-lasting governance structures. That is why the signing of this cooperation agreement with the state of Huila is essential, as it demonstrates the commitment of the local government to the sustainable development of the region.

- Daniela Mariuzzo, IDH Executive Director of Brazil & Latin America

Departments and Municipalities prioritized to develop the PPI compacts

The following municipalities were pre-selected because of their promise to deliver in the three pillars of the Landscape approach. Through a process of deep scoping IDH will chose one municipality in each Department to start a pilot PPI compact that will then be expanded.


Department of Cesar:

The Cesar department, located in the north of Colombia, is characterized by the existence of three clearly differentiated landscape units. The first one, belonging to the macro region of the Caribbean plain, which is made up of large stretches of savanna between 0 and 200 meters above sea level. The second landscape unit is comprised by the mountainous system of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, to the north, on the border with the departments of Magdalena and La Guajira. In this region it rises from 100 to more than 5,300 meters above sea level, where ecosystems range from dry forests and tropical humid forests (crossed by cultivation areas and pastures), to the paramo area and perpetual snow. on the borders with the North of Santander and the Republic of Venezuela, is the Serranía del Perijá, a mountain range belonging to the Andes Mountains, which ranges between 100 and 3600 meters above sea level. As in the Sierra Nevada, in this area the annual average temperatures decrease as the terrain rises, from 26 to 12ºC, with an average rainfall of around 2000 mm.

Given the presence of various thermal floors, the development of activities as diverse as livestock and palm farming is favoured, or growing food such as cocoa, coffee or fruit trees.

Pre-selected Municipalities in Cesar for PPI compacts
1 Agustin Codazzi
2 Becerril
3 La Jagua de Ibirico
4 Chiriguaná

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Department of Magdalena:

The department of Magdalena is comprised mostly of a wide plain, which stretches from the southern swampy area of Zapatosa and the Momposina depression, that meets with the northern Caribbean sea. This extensive region of tropical humid climate is characterized by high temperatures, with an annual average between 26 and 28ºC and a precipitation that can reach 1500 mm, where productive activities related to livestock, banana cultivation and palm cultivation predominate. In the rest of the department (northeast region), the landscape is dominated by the mountainous complex of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which rises from 0 to reach 5700 masl, where temperature drops according to the altitude position and the precipitation increases to 2,500 mm per year.

Pre-selected Municipalities in Magdalena for PPI compacts
1 Ciénaga
2 Zona Bananera
3 Aracataca
4 Fundación

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Department of Huila:

The department of Huila, located in the southwest of the country, is a landscape that follows the Magdalena river valley, surrounded by the mountain ranges of the Andes to east, the central mountain range to the west and the massif Colombian to the south. These diverse geographical conditions provide a great variety of thermal floors, where the temperature can vary altitude between 12-28ºC throughout the year.

The presence of these thermal floors provides perfect conditions for the multitude of agricultural products cultivated in the municipality, such as rice in the Magdalena valley area, fruit and vegetables in mountainous regions, and cocoa in the center-east. In cultivation areas that reside 1200 meters above sea level, coffee is the leading produce.

Pre-selected Municipalities in Huila for PPI compacts

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The PPI compact refers to the three pillars of Protection, Production and Inclusion. This means a commitment and implementation of the protection and conservation of regional forests and ecosystems, a sustainable production of commodities with long-term planning and an inclusion and empowerment of local communities to contribute towards sustainable production in Colombia. PPI Compacts are implemented at municipality level and support the development of Green Growth Plans that are designed at state level (Departments in Colombia).

On 27 May 2020 The Governor of the Department of Huila (Colombia), Luis Enrique Dussan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Program Director for Global Landscapes at IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Daan Wensing, to formalize their commitment to implement a Green Growth Plan, a long-term territorial development strategy based on the principles of PPI. IDH expects to leverage around €1 million in co-financing for the departments of Huila, Cesar, and Magdalena. This MoU signified a huge step forward for the development of the Colombian Landscapes approach which is currently in the implementation phase.

Huila main exports until June 2020
Coffee 84,5%
Fish 13,8%
Cocoa 0,5%
Others 1,2%
Source: MinComercio. Junio 2020.  Perfiles económicos departamnetales – Departamento del Huila.
Magdalena main exports until June 2020
Palm Oil 40%
Banana 39,6%
Coffee 12,5%
Others 7,9%
Source: MinComercio. Junio 2020.  Perfiles económicos departamnetales – Departamento del Magdalena.
Cesar main exports until June 2020
Coal 97,9%
Oil 1,1%
Palm Oil 0,1%
Others 0,9%
Source: MinComercio. Junio 2020.  Perfiles económicos departamnetales – Departamento del Cesar.

Contact us:

  • Francisco León

    Program Officer, Colombia

  • Carolina Tenorio

    Senior Program Manager, Colombia


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