Cacao for Peace (CfP)

The main goal of the USAID/ USDA project, Cacao for Peace (CfP), is “to strengthen Colombia’s key agricultural institutions in the public and private sector for cacao with cooperative research, technical assistance, and extension education. The CfP vision is to improve rural well-being through agricultural development that is inclusive and sustainable with positive impact on cacao farmers’ incomes, economic opportunities, stability and peace.” Under this directive, USDA commissioned this report to examine the cacao supply chain in detail in select regions of the country, discuss opportunities and strengths with producers and key stakeholders, and offer strategic approaches to position Colombia’s cacao sector in domestic and international markets with the end goal to realize the potential for cacao as an avenue for peace.

The Supply Chain

Supply chain


Why Cacao?

The Colombian cacao sector presents opportunities specifically in the context of post-conflict development. Recent efforts to promote the sector have focused on expanding cacao production and to a lesser degree post-harvest management, the establishment of producer organizations, and the exploration of niche markets. Despite these interventions, the sector still underperforms its potential. Rather than focus primarily on cacao production, we propose a strategy that clarifies roles and responsibilities in the sector to avoid inefficiencies and overlap and thereby enhance coordination and collaboration amongst national and regional actors, investments in strengthening producer organizations to become viable rural businesses, the provision of clear market signals and incentives for improved best management practices. After considering all of the stakeholder input and available data, we believe these interventions will improve the competitiveness and productivity of cacao production can help the cacao sector live up to its potential.

Conflict Zones vs Cacao plantations

Global Cacao Production

Colombia differs from larger exporting nations (Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ecuador) in a number of ways. First, global multi-nationals play a more limited role, with two Colombian companies – Casa Luker and Nutresa – purchasing over 80% of Colombian cacao bean production. The smaller importance of international markets, extent of development and infrastructure in Colombia, and the presence of these two large buyers means the marketing structure within Colombia is different from that found in the major cacao exporting countries.

Global Cacao Production

Second, most traders in Colombia maintain at least informal relations with either one of the two large chocolate companies or with a small chocolate manufacturer. The majority of cacao produced in Colombia ends up going to one of these buyers. Significantly smaller volumes of cacao flow from the central traders to small chocolate manufactures, as well as to the international market. Third, producer prices in Colombia (prices paid at the Casa Luker and Nutresa buying centers) closely follow the ICCO world price and are well above prices paid to producers in the majority of cacao producing countries of the world. Finally, significant internal demand for cacao and chocolate products, such as drinking chocolate, exists in Colombia and constitutes an important market outlet for many cacao producers.


The content found on this website is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The contents of this report/study/website/article are the sole responsibility of Colombia Purdue Partnership and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, USDA or the United States Government.



For the purposes of this study, a mixed methods approach was taken. It is focused on four research threads which examine (1) the physical cacao flows – from farm to processor to end user; (2) the prices received for cacao along the chain, including the costs related to procurement and processing; (3) the actors along the chain – including their roles, behaviors and recommendations for increasing efficiency in the Colombian cacao sector; and 4) the contextual issues and considerations that affect market outcomes in the Colombian cacao sector, including production and processing, and confectionery in general.

Document Link
An Analysis of the Supply Chain of Cacao in Colombia - Booklet English --
An Analysis of the Supply Chain of Cacao in Colombia - Full report English Spanish
Cacao in Ecuador - Trip Report English --


Document Link
Asking Stakeholders How They Would Spend Aid Money: Facilitating a Gathering of the Value Chain in Colombia’s Project English --
Cacao for Peace: A Community Development Approach to Improve the Colombian Cacao Supply Chain  English --
Cacao para la Paz: Un Análisis de la Cadena Productiva de Cacao en Colombia -- Spanish
Analysis of the Colombian Cacao Supply Chain: An Applied Community Development Approach English --


Document Link

CIAT joins forces with Cocoa for Peace

English Spanish

Putting together the puzzle of cocoa in Colombia

English Spanish

Cacao for Peace: Examining the Cacao Supply Chain as a Pathway for Peace in Colombia

English --
What role can cacao for peace play in Colombia? English Spanish

El embajador de EE. UU. le apuesta al cacao en el posconflicto

-- Spanish

Cacao for Peace Initiative

English --


Hector profile picture

Hector Lozano

Hector is currently a Ph.D. graduate student in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. From Jun-2015 to Dec-2015, he was an undergraduate visiting scholar in the same department. During this time he studied the physical performance of food and pharmaceutical powders. He earned his bachelor as a pharmaceutical chemist from the National University of Colombia in 2016. During his master’s degree, his focus has been on cacao powder processing; evaluating the qualities and attributes of Colombian cacao powders. His research impacts the industrial side of cacao powders production, handling, and stability. Physical and chemical particle characterization involves the study of surface, bulk, micro and macro properties of the materials, with the aim of establishing key quality parameters. He evaluates the physicochemical variability of cacao powders, depending on the source of origin/manufacturing.

Maria Zea

Maria Zea

Cd bioavailability can be reduced using soil amendments such as biochar. However, researchers and growers in Colombia lack quick, cost-effective tools to quantify Cadmium (Cd) uptake in plants, which limits their potential to identify contaminated sites and determine if soil stabilization strategies such as biochar amendments are working to reduce Cd uptake. New imaging technologies that can separate light into individual wavelengths could help Colombians overcome this challenge. For example, red-green-blue (RGB) and hyperspectral imaging are non-destructive analysis tools that can be used to quantify changes in plant growth and physiology and could be optimized to detect plant stress in response to Cd and estimate uptake into above-ground biomass. Maria Zea is currently evaluating the potential for hyperspectral imaging to detect heavy metal uptake in plants and cacao trees.

Andres Zabala Perilla

Andrés Zabala Perilla

Andrés is a Colombian Agronomy Engineer with a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics. He is currently enrolled in the Agricultural Science Education and Communication department at Purdue as a doctoral student. Andres is conducting research focused on Extension education as an approach to engage youth in cacao production activities. The research is being conducted in post conflict areas in Colombia. After finishing his Ph.D. work in 2021, Andrés will return to Colombia to work in cacao production areas, particularly in projects focused on rural youth.