Project to deliver change for cacao in Colombia to be extended by 12 months

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The COLCO project, which aims to improve productivity for the cacao supply chain in Colombia, has been awarded an additional 12 months of funding by Innovate UK through the Newton-Caldas Fund.

The project is jointly led by the Satellite Applications Catapult and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult) who, in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of specialists based in the UK and Colombia, have come together to develop a methodology and set of prototype technologies to deliver value chain transformations.

The 12-month project extension will commence on 1 June 2020. In phase 2 of the project, the COLCO team will be piloting more widely the services trialled in phase 1 of the project and move toward commercialising them. The next phase of the project will also be used to develop and implement a smart-trading system that will result in increased traceability and transparency, a better price for farmers, and a more climate-resilient and secure value chain that will benefit all stakeholders.

COLCO Phase 2 will also see continuation of work into actively investigating methods of scaling the project’s impact by linking with other relevant projects and initiatives in Colombia, building on the relationships and networks formed in Phase 1.

You can read more about COLCO’s initial phase activities in our blog post here.

It will also see continuation of work into actively investigating methods of scaling the project’s impact by linking with other relevant projects and through sustaining business models for future growth.

The current COLCO consortium partners are the Satellite Applications Catapult, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s Manufacturing Technology Centre, CABI, and Cervest in the UK, and CCC, Croper, Dextera, Fedecacao, Nutresa, Netux, and Ruta-N in Colombia. The project is also supported by the British Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.

Sergio Villa, CEO of CCC, said: “You are working on a legend in Colombia. COLCO will transform cacao. We consider this a gift to Colombia,” and Ricardo Jamillo, CEO and founder of Croper said, “COLCO has an important role in bringing together all of the partners and supply chain in the Colombian cacao ecosystem to build trust and facilitate cooperation. This project is creating a space where we can work together and share knowledge, information, and experiences to create new processes and technologies. Through this we are working towards increasing production and improving quality, and ultimately boosting income for the sector.

Mark Jarman, Head of Agriculture at the Satellite Applications Catapult said, “The COLCO project enables the Catapult centres to demonstrate how we are leveraging our neutrally trusted status alongside world-leading technical, market, design and business capabilities, to convene international partnerships that address local and international supply chain and production challenges, as well as delivering real change for the agricultural sector. Our experiences highlight the opportunities for collaboration between the UK and Colombia, and we look forward to continuing and growing our work with our partners there.

Dr Alejandra Matamoros, Technology Manager at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, said “At the Manufacturing Technology Centre, we are very pleased with the outcomes achieved by the project to date and with the trust that Innovate UK and our Colombian partners have placed in the Catapult centres for taking the COLCO project into this second phase to mature and pilot the solutions. While the process has not been simple, designing innovation for the diverse stakeholders involved in the cacao value chain has been a very gratifying experience. We look forward to seeing a measurable socio-economic impact in Colombia within the next decade as a result of the activities that will take place in this next phase.”

As the project enters this new phase, there is now the opportunity to bring new partners into COLCO. If you are interested in discussing COLCO and potentially helping us to deliver change for Colombian cacao, please contact Mark Jarman (

Find out more about the COLCO by visiting our PROJECTS HUB