OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more


Colcart is the biggest enterprise dedicated to opening an educational and commercial window of organic-based products for the farmers

Photo of Sebastián Cajas
9 2

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

University of Cauca

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

As main alliances we count with: 1. CRC (Cauca’s regional autonomous corporation ). Type of stakeholder: government environmental authority in the department of Cauca. 2. SENA: Public Entity for National Training Service. Type of stakeholder: It focused on the educational reinforcement aimed at the environmental and agricultural areas.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

Not applicable

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Department of Cauca, Colombia (South America)

What country is your selected Place located in?

Colombia (South America)

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We selected this place because it counts with the biggest number of ecosystems due to the different altitudinal soils in the territory and the diversity of flora and fauna that this generates, conditions that allow the production of a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. In the rural areas of the department, although fertile soils are abundant for cropping different types of products, the farmers established in the territory are not aware of how to produce their organic food using agrochemicals to boost the production quantity jeopardizing the overall customer's health. In long-term time span migrations to the cities also happen due to the lack of opportunities, generating the broadening of poverty in the urban areas while the rural area is isolated and abandoned. The agricultural production is then lower and therefore the availability of fresh products is reduced despite having the conditions for producing high-quality ones. The products acquired for the city markets are imported at huge prices sometimes even triplicating themselves, with effect on the farmers' income usually under the minimum wage. Therefore, the department can be a stock opportunity to produce organic agriculture and education regarding the subject, job offers, as well as healthy food consumption and crop habits. We as inhabitants and students of the University of Cauca, being affected directly and indirectly by the agrochemical’s health effects and the lack of environmental consciousness, we urge the producers such as farmers and indigenous communities to regain their ancestral and traditional knowledge and learn how to cultivate organically rather than using agrochemicals. Considering the conditions of the department mentioned above and the 200 producer associations that consciously work in organic agriculture, this project intends to enforce the commercial trade processes to be able to reach easily the local, regional and national community generating access to new markets

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Although Cauca has been one of the most affected departments at a national level by violence caused by insurgent groups, drug traffickers and corrupt politicians, it has best managed to replace all of its effects. This department has the characteristic of having great wealth in all of its sectors including the economic, cultural and environmental ones. The city of Popayán, capital of the department of Cauca with a growth population of 10%, has been gaining recognition among Colombian visitors from abroad, not only for its religious traditions such as Holy Week and its Gastronomic Congress, but for it is the entrance to different tourist sites such as the National Archaeological Park from Tierradentro, National Park of Puracé and Historic Center of Popayán. According to the DANE projections as of the 2005 census, the population of the department has presented an average growth rate of 0.89%, where 20% of the population is concentrated in Popayán, the capital, followed by Santander de Quilichao and El Tambo with 6% and 3.4%, respectively. Likewise, 50.65% of the population are men and 49.35% women with a relative balance between both genders. The Department has optimal natural conditions for the connectivity of the centre of the country with the south of the continent through the Panamericana Highway and to articulate the Departments of Huila, Putumayo and Caquetá with the Pacific area. Three road corridors with outstanding technical specifications intertwine the Panamericana Highway with the Trunk of the Magdalena from Popayán to the Department of Huila, a connection that will be modernized with the construction of the double road Popayán - Santander de Quilichao. In this way, Popayan contains the most important commercial highway that connects the whole country with Ecuador and the rest of south American countries. On the other hand, the greatest dynamism, according to a diverse branch of activities for the department of Cauca, was registered by social, communal and personal service activities (33%) as well as the manufacturing industry (24%). Related to this, Cauca's GDP had greater volatility than the national one, correspondingly it registered higher growths; the highest was in 2013 (12.2%), followed by 2012 (9.0%), 2010 (7.0%) and 2008 (6.5%). In the department there is a need to consolidate economic sustainability processes that allow the improvement of the life quality of the existing inhabitants and future generations, especially regarding the economic crises due to intermediaries in the organic food production, since it is the most vulnerable minorities such as farmers and indigenous, the ones who produce most of the food that citizens eat in our tables, correspondingly, 25% of the family food basket. It is also important to highlight the significance of promoting cultural and ecological tourism, as a fundamental strategy for the responsible empowerment of the territory and the rescue of traditions and ancestral knowledge.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Between 2009-2018 in the Cauca department, there has been an exponential increase in the migration of farmers from rural areas towards urban areas due to social economic conditions and adverse effects triggered by the armed conflict in Colombia which include illegal activities. This migration not only generates that 75% of farmers in Colombia earn under the minimum wage building a low-life quality standard, particularly in rural areas, but it also creates a decrease in job opportunities and more unemployed holders. It is also important to highlight that 40% of the monthly family food basket comes from farmers. From all the country’s available potential lands for agriculture only 0.22% of it (47,000 hectares) are agriculture-dedicated It is still unknown how much of the production from this activity is aimed only at non-chemical based products and even less, in which percentage those areas have an international certification, since these are very expensive. Nowadays there’s an abundance of agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers used to maximize the production after the green revolution, which leads to the abandonment of the traditional cropping practices from farmers and indigenous, and therefore the pollution of the soil and water-supply sources that uphold the food supply chain from rural areas to urban ones through intermediaries. The negative effects of this biochemicals used in the agriculture industry involve various types of cancer (prostate, brain, stomach, skin melanoma etc.) and physiological deformities from the human fetal stage to an elderly age. Despite the development and application of clean technologies in the primary sector, it is still affecting negatively the environment and human health because of the use of these biochemicals. The United Nations Organization for food and agriculture in 2050, forecast how humanity can be fed in a sustainable way, based on the demands of agricultural products using trends through technological innovation. In Cauca Department, not only its cultural diversity but its potential human resources for learning, will allow it to start agricultural processes that contribute to the economic growth of the region, improving the management of natural resources in order to implement productive processes that innovate in the search for sources of employment and promote entrepreneurship opportunities in the agricultural sector. Hence, this encourages and promotes healthy cropping practices with the environment and decreases the usage of fertilizers in the food supply chain, as well as the rescue of traditional and ancestral practices of our ancestors to produce organic-based products and thus enhancing the life-quality standards of producers and consumers, including the environmental protection under the green seal regulations provided by the Ministry of Environment to safeguard the production of high quality organic products.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Through Colcart, we will connect consumers with producers who manufacture certified organic-based products, that is, that do not contain chemical preservants, colourants, or fumigants, among others and therefore there will be fewer people affected regarding health impairments in the department of Cauca. Our solution forwards to an education training with the aim of giving organic cropping practices and commercial tools to the farmers, so they are able to potentiate and scale their business, reducing the unemployment gaps in the cities by eliciting job opportunities in their own lands. The provided training we promote will endure the technical knowledge to farmers and will raise awareness about the importance of generating high-quality fruits, vegetables and organic products they produce and sell to their consumers, endorsed as well by national and international green seal certification based on ISO. This will regulate the improper use of food production, the lack of healthy practices in agricultural processes, the low levels of control in the chain food market, the informality in the food sector and the inadequate practices in food and preservation policies. Our company will be a source of job opportunities, facing the farmers migration process and fostering well-grounded activities that promote environmental awareness in the youth community, particularly in the countryside and thanks to the massive use of mobile devices and social networks, we will connect and promote our vision and achieving a greater environmental awareness among users and promoters of healthy habits that positively impact on the environment, and thus make our target department an example for Colombian society and thus minimize the effects of climate change by creating sustainable practices without the use of chemical pesticides, to improve health and the economy, in addition to preserving the traditional and ancestral practices of indigenous communities in our department.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Through the education centre of Colcart, it will be possible to interwave an environmental technical knowledge, commercial and entrepreneurial abilities between the producers (farmers) and consumers, so both become aware of the importance of producing organic-based products within the solidarity economy framework and trade fair policies. Thus, through our educational centre, we intend to generate technical knowledge to farmers regarding organic cropping practices, improving the food quality standards and thus avoiding various types of diseases and promoting healthy practices to the final customer. Moreover, by particularly shimmering this knowledge over the youth farmers community, we are also increasing their job opportunities and factoring their spare time with useful activities that would give them sustainable practice and market-based tools. In addition, the benefits that our company provides for the department of Cauca would be directly linked to the care of soil, flora and fauna, since we are promoting the decrease of agrochemicals and in this way conserving the potential of natural hydrogen (PH) from the ground or in other words, to stimulate organic-conceived fertile soils and reduce erosion by finally fostering the circulatory economy. Therefore, we want to support the organic-based product's market and thus to reduce chemical pollution in the environment. This is where we all have converged, from a year already, to work together alongside with some alliances to find a technological and environmental-friendly solution by using each one of our abilities in business management technology, engineering and our commitment as a teamwork for improving the life-quality standards of the peasantry, and in this way to make our department an example to follow in Colombia and afterwards in Latinamerica.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

By 2050, Colcart will have generated a huge impact over the environmental consciousness of farmers production framework in every region of Cauca department, as well as a market alternative way of selling healthy and certified organic-based products over the inhabitants of Popayán and the municipal headwaters of the department. Since only 0.22% of the country's available potential lands for agriculture (47,000 hectares) are agricultural-dedicated, we’ll have focused our efforts to increase non-agrochemicals crops lands and thus to support the 122,000 farmers economy in our department in a sustainable way by reducing the chemical pollution of agrochemicals in the farmers cropping habits and in this way avoiding a macroeconomic collapse of the rural market’s potential. Our aim will be accomplished by enhancing the final client health habits and providing them with high-quality food standards through our mobile/web platform. It must be highlighted that with a conscious and trained producers team and with atechnical knowledge of organic products manufacturing: the soil, air, water, biodiversity, and especially human health, morbidity due to agrochemicals contamination and ultimately the well being of Cauca department inhabitants, will have decreased significantly by 2050. The collection of ancestral and traditional recipes concerning indigenous communities knowledge will have been retrieved, so the indigenous and peasant offsprings will have eagerly appropriated the cultural legacy that their ancestors left on their territories. It is necessary to recover this knowledge and apply it over new gastronomy initiatives that make these foods appetizing for the local, national and international public and generating a stunning cultural impact. On the other hand, it is essential to reassess and recognize the traditional knowledge of rural communities that still carry out cultural practices in favour of environmental protection and that it is necessary to rescue with priority to carry out current technological exchanges that favour an optimal use of the natural resources that lead to accurate environmental protection. Our background investigation from the financial plan of the department of Cauca states a growing market segment (the farmers) during the next 30 years, due to the high natality rates at 8% per year and touristic interest over the cultural legacy here rooted. We expect that through the entrepreneurial, commercial and environmental training we provide during our educational centre, the farmers have enough tools to capitalize their incomes, increase substantially their production and at the same time, impact positively, sustainably and intelligently the environment. Through Colcart mobile application there will be an exponential-economic growth on the farmer's income by high diminishing intermediaries costs and reaching a high selling rate directly to the client nationally and internationally, recognizing Colombia as one of the biggest exporters countries of organic-based products in the world. We will do this by acquiring a commission for each sold-product and will have recovered our initial capital by the 5th year. For this, we have calculated the economic unit in terms of the number of clients using the web/mobile platform times the commission for every sold product. For this, we have decided to take a 8% commission. It shall also be considered that according to National Management Department of Statistics in Colombia (DANE), only in Popayan there are 70,000 families and each family spends $100 per family food basket. Thus, 8% commission corresponds to $8. Finally the total earth profit per month we would be getting is $8x70,000 families, which is $560,000. Therefore, in 5 years Colcart would have reached a Net Present Value (NPV) above 5 millión dollars and IRR of 167%. Additionally, new agricultural jobs will be generated, letting farmers improve their living conditions and expand their customers to national and international market and consequently, there won’t be any more farmers migratory trends towards the city in search of new opportunities, since they’ll have enough in their lands. Also, our department will be a successful and fantastic model in Colombia and Latinamerica in organic and sustainable production and simultaneously providing healthy organic products to its citizens. All-encompassing the rendered incomes improvement in Cauca families, the high quality of organic products will face disruptively the malnutrition and food problems, which affect the countryside especially kids and young people. We envision the people will be aware and have changed their food habits to ones which are based on green foods, cereals and fruits. Finally, pursuant with the act of technology as increasing tools during the farmer's revenue development along with the acquired skills with our tools, their update practices and techniques will be rendered smartly according to their demands of supplies and crops practices. Through the massive use of technologies mobiles, we can expand this idea to most of our department and provide opportunities for farmers and young people as well. And thus, the Colcart application appears in response to the lack of communication, guidance and purchase that exists between the client and the farmers who are responsible for providing resources to market companies. Intermediaries usually increase to 3 times the original price product, so what colcart is looking for is to cut the extensive process that exists at the time of creating the product until it reaches the hands of customers, i.e, along the food chain supply, so we want to create a more effective way between the producers (farmers) and the customer, helping strongly rural and traditional manufacturers of the product and not with third parties; On the other hand, this application is oriented in two directions, because it works within the organic market, the producer is looking for an adequate way to sow and the type of planting that must be accompanied by a good method to preserve food without the need for chemicals, that is, they are completely healthy for humans; On the other hand, there is the part of the consumer who wants his family basket to be as economical as possible, for this reason, this application, thinking of both parties, seeks to train and inform the best organic products so the fewer agrochemical products are involved in the food market process, creating at the same time environmental consciousness and filling farmers with useful tools to increase their incomes and foster their ancient traditions.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website
View more

Team (4)

Sebastián's profile
Karen Lissette's profile

"Environmental engineer who orientates the business model to impact the environment in a positive way by reducing chemical usage in cropping practices and by promoting eco-friendly solutions to our idea"

José's profile
José Muñoz

Role added on team:

"business manager, who articulates and monitors the enterprise business model through strategic decision-making skills"

Santiago's profile
Santiago Garcia

Role added on team:

"Systems engineer who have helped to support our support our solution by means of appealing and currently used technologies, such as web and mobile platforms"

Attachments (1)


This document shows the general general description of our project. We will provide with more information the fufure since now most of docummentation is in spanish


Join the conversation:

Photo of Simone Silotti

Bom dia! Sebastian

Parabéns pela iniciativa!Boa sorte!

Você acredita que o meu projeto Sal da Terra (aqui na plataforma) pode ser útil na sua regiâo?

View all comments