Alquería, Nestlé, Yara and IDH join forces to promote sustainable livestock farming in Colombia

Alquería, Nestlé and Yara, leading and reference companies in the food industry in Colombia, announced their participation in the Alliance for the sustainable development of the dairy sector in the state of Cesar, which seeks to contribute to the strengthening of sustainable livestock farming in the country, in coordination with IDH, under the Productive and Sustainable AgroColombia Alliance. The official launch of the program took place in a webinar on 16 February with the presidents of each organization and the Vice-Minister of Agricultural Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Juan Gonzalo Botero.

This project supports the construction and consolidation of the Produce, Preserve and Include Compact in Cesar, where dairy farming plays an important role not only as an economic driver for small-scale farmers but also as a facilitator of improved social conditions for families.

Dairy farming represents an opportunity for the region to transform a coal-based economy into sustainable agriculture.  In this regard, the project aims to positively impact over 100 small dairy farmers in its initial phase, triggering the development, adoption and implementation of practices and technologies for greater productivity and quality in the dairy sector. Production is expected to increase from 2.5 to 6 litres of milk per animal per day.  With the implantation of agroforestry systems, the project also aims to restore 300 hectares of degraded areas and protect some 3 thousand hectares of dry tropical forest (typical of the region), besides improving the working and social conditions in rural areas.

Specifically, for the North and South of the state, the coordinated effort of the three companies together with IDH is expected to result in the exchange of knowledge and technology to improve milk production, increase family income, develop new generations, by stimulating awareness of sustainability and fostering social progress in the communities.

For Daniela Mariuzzo, director of the sustainable landscape program of IDH Latin America, “this Alliance is the beginning of the contribution towards the implementation of a sustainable model in Cesar, as well as in Colombia, and demonstrates that all companies can come together and work to improve the conditions of a territory and supply chain. From the Productive and Sustainable Agro-Colombia Initiative, led by IDH, we ensure that these spaces of articulation effectively result in practical actions in the territory. Today we have consolidated this Alliance with large companies in the sector at national level, such as Alquería, Nestlé and YARA, to strengthen the sustainable dairy production model, which is certainly a great milestone for the region and the country’s dairy sector.”

“The establishment of bases for long-term construction will be permanent, as advocated by Nestle’s vision:  “We develop the full power of food to improve the quality of life today and for generations to come.  Thanks to this articulation with IDH, we will be able to work together to promote good dairy production practices in Cesar.  We want to provide tools to make livestock production chains in Colombia more sustainable,” said Antonio Núñez, president of Nestlé Colombia.

Andrés Useche, Commercial Director of the Andean Region of Yara Colombia, added:  “The Colombian countryside faces several challenges, such as increasing yield and food quality, making efficient use of water and reducing ammonia emissions.  With this project, we seek to contribute to address these challenges and support Cesar’s dairy farmers with better agricultural practices that enable them to be efficient, productive, profitable and sustainable.  Working together with the food chain is a big step for agriculture in the country and we are convinced that this collaboration will lead to the development of the rural areas and sustainable agriculture”.

Finally, for Carlos Enrique Cavelier, president and coordinator of Alquería, the contribution of the private sector is essential for the development of agriculture in Colombia. “As companies and organizations, our mission is to facilitate the consolidation of small-scale farmers, and help them to fulfill their life project and achieve their goals. We are at a crucial moment in which we have to contribute with all the resources and capacities available to us to promote reactivation and productivity,” he said.

This project, which started in January this year, can be a model in Colombia of how to solve some of the problems in the dairy industry and achieve stability for farmers and the entire supply chain by improving production methods, bringing financial institutions together, innovating in mechanisms that facilitate access to credit for small-scale farmers, implementing livestock monitoring systems and promoting ecosystem conservation.  IDH’s investment will also enable the creation of new business models based on innovative methodologies for products and services that provide long-term solutions allied to the effectiveness and competitiveness of small-scale farmers’ businesses.