Revitalizing a coal mining landscape through farming

12Tree is rehabilitating an abandoned 400 ha cacao plantation of unique potential in La Jagua de Ibirico, Cesar, in the Caribbean region of Colombia.

This region has been heavily impacted by paramilitary and guerrilla groups and open-pit coal mining. Hacienda Maquencal spans over 900 hectares, 200 of which are protected natural and old-growth secondary forest.

Hacienda Maquencal is the largest cacao farm in the Cesar department and employs approximately 92 local workers, providing a dignified source of employment in an impoverished region. Hacienda Maquencal pays fair wages, as well as social security for all employees.

The rehabilitation of Hacienda Maquencal with climate-smart practices include the composting of cacao pods to use as fertilizer and soil amendment, the rehabilitation of the irrigation system with the latest drip irrigation technology, the construction of a water reservoir that will ensure sufficient water during unusual drought periods, and the construction of a state-of-the-art post-harvesting center.

Additionally, data collection systems are being implemented to monitor daily crop water and nutrient requirements which allow to reduce fertilizer inputs and the water footprint of the crop.

The new post-harvest facility will ultimately allow a faster and more homogenous fermentation and drying process, substantially improving the quality of the cocoa and allowing for direct off take by international buyers.

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FARM FACTS

SIZE: 900 Ha

MANPOWER: 59 in 2017 to 92 in 2019

FARM TYPE: Cocoa

COCOA CLONES: CCN 51

REGION: Cesar, Colombia

RAINFALL: 1,543 mm/year

ALTITUDE: 130 masl

SOIL: Alluvial deposits from the Cesar river; sandy loam soils low in organic matter content and slightly acidic

APPROACH: Perennial farming

KEY FARMING PRACTICES:

  • Composting

  • Precision agriculture

  • Habitat protection and riparian restoration

PROJECT MANAGERS:

Carlos Escobar, carlos.escobar@12tree.de

Juan Jaramillo, juan.jaramillo@12tree.de

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