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Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

Empowering Coffee and Cacao Smallholder Farmers in Colombia and Conserving the Majestic Jaguar

Empowering Coffee and Cacao Smallholder Farmers in Colombia and Conserving the Majestic Jaguar

The expansion of agriculture in Colombia is one of the biggest wildlife conservation threats in the region that is resulting in habitat loss for key species. There are still remnants of natural ecosystems big enough to maintain carnivore populations, but each year they are reduced and are endangering remaining carnivore populations. One of the key critical areas to ensure species conservation in Colombia is the Amazon-Andes connection, an area that allows connectivity between species populations. This region has been facing challenges of deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and species loss for decades. The department of Caquetá is considered the gateway to the Amazon, and its geographical location makes it ecologically vital for the jaguar and other species. This transitional zone between the imposing mountain ranges and the Amazon rainforest invites development of sustainable agriculture with coffee and cacao crops, which not only improves the living conditions of human populations but also ensures the survival of the jaguar’s habitat.

As an apex predator, the jaguar is one of the species that is being most affected by habitat loss, and loss of prey from unregulated hunting and retaliatory killing because of the conflict with cattle ranchers and local farmers in the area. In a groundbreaking initiative, ProCAT Colombia created a partnership with Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network to achieve Jaguar Friendly™ Certification for coffee and cacao smallholder farmers in Colombia – with the aim of not only protecting the iconic jaguar but also supporting coffee and cacao smallholder farmers and promoting best practices in farming.

Today, we are excited to announce the certification of 60 coffee and cacao farmers. ProCAT Colombia recognizes the importance of empowering these farmers with the knowledge and resources needed to adopt best practices and wildlife conservation in agriculture. As well as the commitment of the coffee and cacao associations that have always been willing to facilitate and promote these types of initiatives. Through capacity-building training programs and access to innovative techniques, ProCAT Colombia is not only helping farmers improve their yields but also encouraging a harmonious coexistence with wildlife. It’s worth mentioning that these Certified Jaguar Friendly farmers cover 1,289 hectares for cacao and 703 hectares for coffee production, of which 870 hectares of forest are under conservation agreements. In this effort, the participation of the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) as funders and promoters of conservation and sustainable agriculture was critical for achieving the goal.

Some of the best wildlife conservation practices being implemented by the Certified Jaguar Friendly™ farms include producing coffee under a shade-grown scheme, and protecting remaining natural forests, which allows the growth of native arboreal species and the habitat connectivity for different animals such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), crab eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), agouti (Dasyprocta punctata), armadillo species (Dasypodidae) and the greater grison (Galictis vittata). The Certified Jaguar Friendly™ program is helping to restore jaguar habitat and allows farms to act as corridors and connectors at a landscape scale, enabling the safe passage of wildlife through the coffee and cacao farms. These protected forests serve as the habitat for 24 species of terrestrial mammals that were documented during this project.

The Jaguar Friendly™ Certification goes beyond protecting jaguars; it’s about preserving the entire ecosystem. ProCAT Colombia and the certified farmers are actively involved in reforestation efforts, creating wildlife corridors, and implementing better farming practices. This holistic approach aims to conserve biodiversity, ensuring a healthy and resilient environment for both flora and fauna. The certification promotes sustainability, verifies environmental and wildlife management practices, and encourages biodiversity protection – helping to ensure a better product for consumers while restoring and protecting wildlife habitats.

About ProCAT Colombia:

ProCAT Colombia works to develop biological research and to promote social and cultural sustainable development goals using an interdisciplinary approach including the human and natural dimensions of wild field conflicts. In this context, Jaguar Friendly certification, promotes sustainable agricultural practices that protect the jaguar’s habitat and other endangered species, encouraging harmonious coexistence between agriculture and wildlife.

About Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network:

Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) conserves endangered and threatened wildlife species and their habitats through biodiversity certification programs that also contribute to the economic vitality of rural communities. WFEN uses the power of the marketplace to create on-the-ground change by providing incentives for the protection of biodiversity and enabling the conservation of intact landscapes critical to the provision of ecosystem services. WFEN has developed certification programs that support grassroots farmers, ranchers, herders, artisans, indigenous peoples, and conservation heroes from around the world and ensure that people and nature coexist and thrive.