ACUMEN ENTREPRENEURS BUILD SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST CHALLENGES FACING THE POOR
SUPPORTING SMALL FARMERS THROUGH THE PRODUCTION AND MARKETING OF AMAZONIAN FRUITS
The armed conflict has had a profound impact on Guaviare, the region where the company operates. The presence of guerrillas, paramilitaries and illegal groups – all of them heavily involved in drug trafficking – has hampered the growth of a licit economy, forcing many inhabitants to engage in coca cultivation and deepen the cycle of poverty. On average, 75% of the population of Guaviare lives in conditions of vulnerability.
95.7% of the population of Guaviare includes people from the interior of Colombia who emigrated with the boom in coca cultivation in the 80s and 90s. Coca continues to represent an important part of the economy, with approximately 5,423 hectares, and its Cultivation is a risky and dangerous occupation, as producers constantly fear aerial fumigation by the government, demands, extortion from guerrillas and paramilitaries. 4.3% of the remaining population includes indigenous communities that live in conditions of vulnerability, exclusion and with many unmet basic needs. Additionally, although the region is one of the most diverse areas in the world, deforestation is a growing threat. It is estimated that more than 360,000 hectares of forest has been threatened in the Guaviare since 1990.
Wildly grown amazonian fruits, particularly acai, represent an extraordinary opportunity to generate sustainable income for small farmers in Guaviare and to protect the rainforest. Not only is there a growing global demand for this type of fruit, but they are also a potentially important source of income for indigenous communities that have a lot of experience in harvesting these fruits.
Bioguaviare obtains 100% of its fruits from farmers and indigenous communities living in Guaviare, which is one of the most affected departments in Colombia, with a multidimensional poverty rate of 75% compared to the national average of 25% and the fourth lowest GDP per capita in Colombia. In addition to promoting a new source of income for producers in the region, Bioguaviare is the only source of income for the Nukak indigenous community. The company ensures the purchase of fruit at fair prices and above market prices, and provides technical assistance to fruit collectors.