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Fair Trade helping to build peace in Colombia

By Marco Coscione, Coordinator of Advocacy and Fundraising at the Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo (CLAC)

The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó situated in the department of Antioquia, Colombia, was founded on 23 March 1997, with the help of the diocese of Antioquia and of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with the belief that the social and armed conflict in Colombia can be resolved only peacefully. This farming community is an internationally recognised peace witness; their moral values and consistency have enabled them to receive many awards from international organizations, including a nomination for the 2011 European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize where they finished among the three finalists.

The Italian cities of Narni and Fidenza have awarded their members honorary citizenship. They have also received awards for their ethic and civic values from other European countries and cities.

The community is made up of about 350 men and women carrying out their farming activity in a spirit of community and cooperation. Sustainable farming is practiced on community owned fields to produce biological bananas, coffee and cocoa beans. The Community has been exporting organic cocoa for the last few years thanks to Fair Trade circuits, although at the moment LUSH and GEPA are the only companies buying cocoa from them.
The peace community is constantly attacked through military, paramilitary and guerrilla activities in Urabá Antioqueño, which is one of the areas with the highest paramilitary presence. These armed groups are against the community’s bottom-up approach to peace and autonomy building.

san jose


The Italian Solidarity Network “Colombia Vive” firmly believes that Fair Trade can build strong social relationships worldwide and appeals to all those involved in Fair Trade in the world to continue supporting the community and its peace process.

By selling their product at a fair price and receiving the fair trade premium, the community can keep ensuring stability to its members and making small investments in production, health, education and other activities which are essential for the building of a peaceful future.

It is not easy to directly contact the community because of its location, but people involved in Fair Trade in Colombia can help you get in touch. 

The Community’s products are exported thanks to the cooperative Cosurca, another Fair Trade small producers’ organization in Colombia, which has been able to create an independent export company helping various peasants and indigenous organizations in the department of Cauca.

To get in touch with the community please contact Marco Coscione, Coordinator of Advocacy and Fundraising at the “Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores de comercio justo” (CLAC), the Latin American and Caribbean Small Producers’ Organizations Network of the Fairtrade International system.

This is the website of the community, here you can find all the further information.


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