The Meta department comprises a wide array of different territories distributed among very different landscapes that makes each one unique in ecosystem types and biodiversity.
La Macarena is an isolated mountain range located in the Meta Department, Colombia. The national park encompasses an ecologically unique meeting point for the flora and fauna of the Amazon, Orinoco, and Andes regions. Vistahermosa is a small rural village at the foothill
of National Park Sierra de la Macarena.
The Ariari River is what brings life to this biodiverse territory in the Meta region. It flows south-east down the Andean mountains, to meet the Guayabero River and generate the Guaviare River, one of the big tributary rivers of the Rio Orinoco, a basin of evolution, and dispersion of the cacao species.
Thanks to a lot of investments and models of collaboration with the association and El Colaboratorio, some of the farmers have learned about organic agriculture, cacao genetics, and transformation processes. With this expertise, farmers like Don Epímaco were able to develop a unique fermentation protocol. Thanks to the longer anaerobic phase of this protocol, these micro-lots produce uniquely distinctive cacao, with an unprecedented flavor profile. Don Epímaco also become increasingly invested in rescuing and preserving ancient cacao varieties otherwise bound to disappear.
This region truly portrays an emblematic case of the farmers that moved in with an interest or necessity of growing coca leaves and now have migrated their activities into the cacao value chain. Assuming the role of entrepreneurial farmers in an agriculture that pursues a high valorization of their product.
The associated farmers of the region are veritable rural managers. Today, after all the difficulties, they can finally work towards creating stable living conditions for their families, all the while producing high-level cacao that requires knowledge and dedication, and is economically sustainable. While the coca farming model created deep divisions within the community, producers associations generate a strong collective unity of farmers committed to the sustainable production of fine cacao bound to excel in local and international markets.