Enhancing Labor Practices and Identifying Best Certification Programs for Colombian Cacao Associations


Executive Summary/Description

In January of 2016 USAID and USDA executed a 5 year, $5 million program, “Cacao for Peace,” that seeks to promote agricultural development, stability and peace in Colombia by strengthening the country’s cacao sector. Colombia has suffered through decades of violent conflict, with the rural regions hit hardest. Caught in the middle of the fighting, many communities with limited economic options turn to the illicit economy, working in illegal mines and the drug trade to earn a living. One area of promise to combat the illicit economy and improve security in Colombia is cacao, where global demand is expected to increase 30% by 2030. However, despite Colombia’s ideal conditions for cacao production, it currently supplies only 1% of the total global cacao market.

This component of “Cacao for Peace” seeks to ensure it is promoting a sector that complies with Colombian labor standards, to include a child labor/forced labor free workforce. The international cacao industry has a history of the ‘worst forms of child labor’ as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Established in 2001, the Harkin-Engel Protocol was created to improve labor practices in the cacao industry, specifically Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Colombia has made efforts towards eliminating the worst forms of child labor, almost half being in the agricultural sector, and has ratified ILO conventions 138 and 182 on the minimum age for Admission to Employment and on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. However, Cacao for Peace endeavors to go further by obtaining labor certifications for the cacao producer associations it currently supports via program activities. By Fair Trade or similar certifications, the associations
will ensure they are producing cacao with strong social safeguards and gain an additional differentiator in the cacao global market.

LGU Team Participants

University of Florida
Pilar Useche, Associate Professor, Food and Resource Economics
[email protected]

Colombian Partners



Project Funding

USDA-USAID Agreement

Nine land grant universities united in the cause of peace in Colombia.

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The LGU Colombia Consortium seeks to leverage the land grant mission and expertise in applied agriculture and extension services to collaboratively help create a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable rural economy in support of Colombia’s peacebuilding agenda.

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