Alqueria, Nestlé, Yara Colombia and IDH join forces to boost the sustainability of agricultural supply chains in Colombia

The initiative will reach over 100 smallholder dairy farmers in the supply chain in Cesar, Colombia initially, with a view to expand this in the coming years.

Alquería, Nestlé and Yara Colombia, leading companies in the Colombian food sector, announced on 16 February 2021 that they will join an alliance for sustainable development of the dairy sector in Cesar, Colombia within the framework of ‘Alianza AgroColombia Productiva y Sostenible’, the alliance for productive and sustainable agriculture in Colombia. The program was officially launched in a webinar with the leaders of each organization and the Vice Minister of Agricultural Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Colombia, Juan Gonzalo Botero.

This project supports the construction and consolidation of the PPI compact in Cesar, where dairy cattle ranching plays an important role not only as economic driver of small farmers but also as enabler of improving social conditions of dairy producers’ families. Dairy cattle ranching represents an opportunity for the region to transform a coal-based economy into a sustainable agricultural one. In this matter, the project aims to positively impact more than 100 small milk producers in Cesar in its initial phase, triggering the development, adoption and implementation of practices and technologies for higher productivity and quality in Dairy sector to pass from producing 2.5 lts/cow/day to 6 lts/cow/day. By the implementation of agroforestry systems, the project expects to rehabilitate and restore 300 ha of degraded areas and create protect around 3.000 ha of tropical dry forest, nowadays with small residues in the region, and improve labour and social conditions in rural areas.

For the north and south of the department, IDH will facilitate coordinated efforts by the three companies for exchange of knowledge and technology, skill development for increasing dairy production, increasing household incomes, training of younger generations, and fostering values of sustainability and community development among youth.

For Daniela Mariuzzo, Director of the Landscape program for IDH LATAM, “This alliance initiates a new contribution to the implementation of a sustainable production model not only in Cesar, but in Colombia as a whole, and demonstrates that all organizations can come together and coordinate to improve territorial development and supply chain sustainability. Since the establishment of ‘Alianza AgroColombia Productiva y Sostenible’, led by IDH, we have been able to bring outcomes of discussions into real-life actions in the territory. Today, we consolidate this Alliance with large companies in the sector at the national level such as Alqueria, Nestlé and Yara to strengthen the sustainable milk production model, which we are sure will mark a major milestone for the region and the dairy sector in the country.”

“Laying the foundation for long-term development is always essential, as Nestlé’s purpose states: ‘Unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come.’ Thanks to this partnership with IDH, we will be able to work together to enhance good milk production practices in Cesar. We want to provide tools to make livestock production chains more sustainable in Colombia,” said Antonio Núñez, president of Nestlé Colombia.

Andrés Useche, commercial director for the Andean Region of Yara Colombia, stated “The Colombian countryside faces several challenges, such as increasing food production and quality, making efficient use of water, and reducing ammonia emissions. With this project we seek to contribute to these challenges and support Caesar’s milk producers with best agricultural practices that allow them to be efficient, productive, profitable and sustainable. Working together with the food supply chain is a big step for agriculture in the country, we are convinced that collaborative work will lead us to the development of the field and sustainable agriculture.”

Finally, for Carlos Enrique Cavelier, president and coordinator of Sueños de Alquería, the contribution of the private sector is essential for the development of Colombia’s agriculture. “As companies and organizations, we have a mission to be facilitators of the consolidation of small producers, helping them to fulfill their life project and achieve their goals. We are at a fundamental time, where we need to bring all the resources and capabilities, we have in our hands to promote reactivation and productivity,” the executive said.

This project is aiming to become an example in Colombia on how to address some of the dairy sector issues and reach stability for producers and the whole supply chain by improving production methods, bring closer financial institutions that facilitate credit access for small producers, innovate in financial mechanisms for small producers and monitoring systems for cattle ranching and ecosystems conservation. IDH investment will also allow the creation of new business models from the innovative implementation of methodologies, products, and services that provide long-term solutions along with the effectiveness and competitiveness of livestock businesses of small producers.

The project began from 1 January 2021 and is expected to reach more than 100 ranchers in the coming years.

You can read an interview in Spanish with Daniela Mariuzzo, Director of the Landscape program for IDH LATAM, in Colombian national newspaper El Espectador: