In the competitive setting of the "Sustainable Cocoa Innovation Challenge," a program that brought together entrepreneurs committed to preserving forests and promoting peace in the cocoa industry, collaboration between government entities and research organizations such as the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, is vital. Two key figures, representatives of the British Embassy in Colombia and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, played key roles in evaluating and promoting sustainable innovations.
Luis Calzadilla, Director of Science and Innovation at the British Embassy in Colombia, played a crucial role as a member of the jury during D-Day, where the nine selected to participate in the Challenge presented their ventures. His perspective highlighted the importance of initiatives that strengthen the ecosystem and connect producers with the market, positively impacting Colombian families. Calzadilla expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration between the British Embassy, the Alliance and the CGIAR in creating spaces that foster discussion and capacity building.
"From the British Embassy, always our partner with CIAT and with the CGIAR, we seek to ally ourselves to generate spaces that generate this type of discussions, this type of installation and capacity building."
Juan Carlos Revelo, National Level Green Business Coordinator at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, also stood out with his participation. During his presentation, Revelo shared the vision of the Green Business Office, underlining the strategic importance of the Challenge for ventures to scale not only in their productive processes, but also in their commercial and marketing strategies.
Revelo highlighted the relevance of sustainable cocoa production systems in forest conservation, biodiversity enhancement and the generation of significant economic impact:
"Sustainable cocoa production systems are one of the lines that we, within the Ministry's Green Businesses, support. These are the ones that are called to the maintenance of ecosystems, to the improvement of productions, to the improvement of actions directly of biodiversity".
These perspectives of Luis Calzadilla and Juan Carlos Revelo emphasize the importance of the connection between producers and the market, the need to promote a positive social and environmental impact in the ventures, and the relevance of sustainable production systems for cocoa. Both offer visions that reinforce the commitment to innovation.
Collaboration between government entities, research organizations such as the Alliance supported by CGIAR research initiatives AgriLAC Resiliente, Mitigate+ and CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform, and entrepreneurs was essential to the success of this challenge, showing a shared commitment to innovation, sustainability and responsible business development in the cocoa industry in Colombia. This event not only celebrates individual achievements, but also promotes a collective shift towards sustainability and innovation in cocoa production in the country.
The Sustainable Cocoa Innovation Challenge pitch day has taken place as the result of the joint effort between CGIAR research initiatives AgriLAC Resiliente and Mitigate+ and the project “Implementing Sustainable Agricultural and Livestock Systems for Simultaneous Targeting of Forest Conservation for Climate Change Mitigation (REDD+) and Peacebuilding in Colombia,” otherwise known as the IKI-SLUS Project, and powered by CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform and Rockstart.