From the Field For the First Time, Indigenous Arhuaca Women in Colombia are Leading the Cultivation of Biofortified Beans

An inspiring example highlights the crucial role of Indigenous women in the Arhuaca community in Colombia's Serranía del Perijá.

The group of 15 Arhuaco women carried out a meticulous planting process, where as well as implementing ancestral and agroecological farming practices, together with young people from the community, they participated in a process of training and strengthening commercial practices, allowing them to learn about the bean market in Valledupar and identify potential clients. This exercise was carried out following the methodology for exploring demand conditions, in which they were trained by researchers from the AgriLAC Resiliente Initiative and Agrosavia.

In its first phase, the exercise consisted of carrying out a market survey in different points of sale such as supermarkets, shops and restaurants, where through observation exercises and interviews they gathered key information that, in the second phase, was the basis of developing a marketing plan adjusted to their products and market demands. 

Thanks to this process, ethnic restaurants such as Casa Indígena are showing interest in partnering with these communities to incorporate biofortified beans into their recipes, recognizing their quality and compliance with the 'Law of Origin', as they are locally produced. Furthermore, the community's mindset has also changed, because they've now seen that these biofortified beans are not only a greater source of food security due to their increased nutritional properties, but they also provide a valuable way to increase their incomes. 

Beans produced in the community are considered a sacred food that represents women and fertility. It is also considered part of the region's food sovereignty because of the "spiritual strength" with which it is produced.

These women don't only grow beans; they also transform this food into delicious culinary creations such as ceviche, creamy bean soup, biscuits and cakes. They also actively promote their products at cultural events such as intercultural ethnic festivals and Indigenous congresses, thus highlighting their valuable contribution to gastronomy and the preservation of their local traditions. They are currently working on the creation of a brand for the sale of their biofortified bean-based products, as part of their marketing plan. 

The Indigenous women growing bean say that they are proud to be "seeds" that have spread to other communities as a success story of producing food, reclaiming the land and feeding their children healthily. 


  • Sandra Marcela Vargas - Asociada de Investigación
  • Luz Adriana Jimenez - Coordinador II