AGROSEC, Colombia

The Kankuamos are one of four indigenous groups living in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains. They are joined by the Kogui, Arhuaco, and Wiwi peoples who all continue to honour their traditional cultural lifestyles in the isolated mountain regions. In the 1980s, the Kankuamos began organizing themselves into a united people that could carry more political and social weight in their region.

The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta is home to 30,000 indigenous people and due to its varying climate and biodiversity, it was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1979.  The area of the Santa Marta Mountains is highly disputed territory.  Both leftist and right wing armed groups fight for control. It is an area that has been greatly affected by the narcotics trade and many Kankuamo people have lost their lives in the conflict. Responding to the need to protect their people and their heritage from outsiders, the Kankuamo people joined together to form the Kankuamo Indigenous Organization in 1993.

AGROSEC is the 41-member farmer association that was established in 2005. The farmers of AGROSEC grow a variety of crops such as rice and beans, fruits, coffee, sugar cane, and spices.

Quick facts:

Organization: AGROSEC
Country:  Colombia
Region: Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Department: Magdalena
Date Established: 2005
Number of members: 41 families
Altitude: 1200 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l)
Coffee Varieties: Typical & Castillo
Harvest months: October to January
Estimated annual production: 200 Tonnes (approx. 10 containers)