Colombian organic beverage company Dcada has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with the aim to directly contract 15 small-scale Colombian farmers and guarantee fair payments, while providing technical assistance to them to become organically certified by 2024. Dcada will also have 100 percent of the ingredients used in its products sourced organically from regional Colombian farmers and support the growth of women participating in its supply chain by 2024.
BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US $10 per day in purchasing power (in 2015 dollars) as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Rural Columbia has historically been in a delicate situation due to conflict between the government and Colombia’s largest guerrilla group until a recent peace deal was signed. The income of farmers in these rural areas is generally very low and unstable. In 2014, a report revealed that 75 percent of Colombian farmers did not even earn the minimum wage of US $242 a month.
Dcada is currently developing a pilot project that involves working directly with farmers, giving the beverage company more control over who they work with. The project will allow Dcada to offer different payment options to farmers and boost gender equality in its operations. Additionally, Dcada will pay farmers to become certified organic, with a guarantee to buy all produced goods at fair prices and provide farmers with technical and business support.
“This new pilot project will help Colombian farmers become organically certified and provide them with fair wages, giving small-scale farmers a secure source of income,” said Luciana Aguiar, Head of Business Call to Action.
The Dcada inclusive business model, based on consumer health, sustainability and solidarity, operates through a percentage of revenue taken from each drink sold to support small farmers in their efforts to obtain organic certifications. This allows local fruit production associations to strengthen their practices and increase quality while Dcada improves their supply chain opportunities. At the same time, Dcada provides farmers and their families with assistance in areas like reading, writing and business administration.
At the moment, Dcada buys organic ingredients from three different Colombian companies who work directly with farmers. The suppliers buy the raw materials, process them to fruit pulp or raw sugar cane, before selling them to Dcada. The companies guarantee the farmers fair prices for their crops, up to 20 percent higher than market average market price or through fixed wages. In addition to their annual organic certification fees.
Since launching in March 2016, Dcada has seen its sales grow more than 80 percent annually, and can be found in several of Colombia’s biggest supermarket chains. The beverage company is currently looking to export its product to Germany and Spain. Their products are mainly sold to gastronomy stores, hotels, supermarkets, domestically and internationally.
“We are proud that Dcada is Colombia’s first organic certified drink. We hope to provide a quality product to consumers and sustainable livelihood to rural farmers,” said Konstantin Jessen, Deputy General Manager at Dcada.