La Plate-forme pour l'agriculture tropicale (TAP)

The impact of the TAP-AIS project in strengthening capacities for rural innovation in Antioquia and Boyacá


The TAP-AIS Colombia Project led the capacity strenghtening of 434 producers from the organizations Campo Dulce SAS in the Bajo Cauca Antioqueño region and ASCACB in the department of Boyacá

In Colombia, the project "Capacity development for agricultural innovation systems: scaling up the common framework of the Tropical Agriculture Platform" (TAP-AIS Project), financed by the European Union and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aims to contribute to capacity development to promote, recognize and strengthen rural innovation in the context of productive and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems. For this purpose, the project prioritized two agricultural innovation experiences in Colombia: Campo Dulce SAS in the beekeeping sector of Bajo Cauca Antioqueño and the Asociación Campesina Ambiental y Cultural de Boyacá (ASCACB) in Boyacá's dairy chain. The project conducted participatory evaluations of each territorial innovation system in order to identify gaps for strengthening capacities of these organizations. 

The results obtained include the design and implementation of a digital literacy plan for training in digital skills and appropriation of technological tools to reduce the gaps in access and use of digital technologies by producers of Campo Dulce SAS and ASCACB. A diagnosis was made in order to identify the behavior patterns of producers in relation to digital tools in the two territories in order to carry out practical training sessions and farm to farm visits to address the prioritized topics. 

Specific support was provided to the beekeeping chain with Campo Dulce SAS, a second-level organization of which five (5) beekeepers' associations are members (Fibrarte, Asopisnar, Asocuturú, Red Nudo Paramillo and Ascabia) and to the dairy chain with the producers' organization ASCACB. Some of the main results are described below: 

 

Campo Dulce SAS case  

The actions with Campo Dulce SAS were oriented towards the development of an innovative product based on natural honey from bees, called sweetening spoons “cucharitas endulzantes” in Spanish. In addition, we sought to generate a strategy for the launching and commercialization of the product. In this process, technical specifications  for bee honey sweetening spoons with three flavors were developed: lemon, ginger and eucalyptus. Each data sheet contains product specifications, sampling plan, analysis of results and organoleptic tests performed. An inventory was also made of the equipment and utensils used in the production of the prototype product. A document was also prepared with the national standards for spoon sweeteners and the entities that deal with the production of raw materials. The hygienic-sanitary requirements were established, as well as the labeling regulations for packaging and the nutritional table. 

Based on the technical specifications, a commercial data sheet was created in business format. This sheet details the characteristics of the product, its organoleptic qualities and nutritional content. Subsequently, training sessions were held for the preparation of the final product so that plant operators would understand each stage of the process. Likewise, the production costs of the prototype were established, and an assessment of compliance with the regulations associated with the production and commercialization process of the sweetening spoons by the Campo Dulce SAS organization was made. 

Regarding the strategy for launching and positioning the product in different platforms, both physical and virtual, as well as promotion and marketing for the product, a marketing plan was designed as a road map for commercialization and positioning process. In addition, a mapping and identification of local and regional commercial platforms and spaces for commercialization of the product was carried out. Finally, three commercial events were organized to launch and promote the sweetener spoon product, and three commercial agreements were signed for the sale of the product. 

 

ASCACB

The purpose of this support was to improve the income, capacity and quality of the dairy production system through an inclusive social innovation model, which included the management and conformation of seven Sustainable Production Nodes (NPS) in the municipalities of Belén, Sativasur and Paz de Río in Boyacá.

Seven capacity-building plans were developed to strengthen individual and group skills in areas such as milking routines, utensil washing, pasture and forage management, fertility and nutritional quality, bovine health and production costs. As for milk quality improvement, milk quality tests were conducted at the beginning and end of the support to evaluate the adoption of innovative practices by the producers.  As a result of this process, the Agricultural folder "Carpeta Agropecuaria" in Spanish was created, a tool for recording, monitoring and strengthening individual capacities. This tool is an interactive folder composed of five chapters, in which the farmer can consult information, store records and documents on production activities, such as: results of milk and soil analyses, movement guides, vaccination certificates and bovine records, among others.

Finally, support to ASCACB included management and coordination actions. Strategic allies were identified and key public-private stakeholders in the department were prioritized to strengthen the process. The organization's strategic plan was developed in the areas of quality and safety, management, coordination, training and capacity building for associated farmers.

The TAP-AIS project team is very satisfied with the work carried out in these two communities, as it contributes to strengthening Colombia's territorial innovation systems and rural development.

Some photos from Campo Dulce SAS & ASCACB