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Edgar Montenegro created Corpocampo in 2003 with a specific purpose: Farmers in Putumayo should earn an income detached from the coca growing. "Alternatives were sought because this department had the biggest concentration of coke plantations. We began a viability research to build a production plant and, with the support of United Nations, the project was born", assured the businessman.
Corpocampo's palmetto begun to be commercially available in Bogotá. Edgar brought the product on bus, and after a 14-hour-long ride, he distributed it in restaurants and supermarkets. "The goal was always to export and bring visibility to the project. I'm from Putumayo, I'm a farmer, I scraped coke, I know the entire process. And why does people do so? We did not had alternatives nor someone who would assure a constant demand of our products".
The first palmetto export occurred in 2006, and in 2014 the acai exports started. Acai, the palmetto plant fruit, is harvested and processed into pulp for juices, sauces and dressings. Today, both products reached France, Holland and Lebanon. "Acai is a wild fruit processed naturally. It has many anti-oxidants, which allow us to reach a growing market in Europe and United States" said the entrepreneur.
Thanks to ProColombia, Corpocampo has been positioned in organic product fairs in Germany, where many clients have been found given the 'super-fruit' status of the acai: high level of nutrients such as Omega 3, 6 and 9, dietary fiber and health benefits as the heart-attack prevention.
Today, Corpocampo works with 1.200 farmer families and 200 in-house employees, which are mostly women heading households. The efforts made for these farmers traduced into a recognition from the Business for Peace Foundation to Corpocampo and its manager. This entity, with office in Oslo, Norway, recognize world leaders for its economic and social labor with vulnerable communities.
Corpocampo belongs to the Bussiness Call to Action initiative, overseen by the United Nations Development Program, whom nomitaded the business to the award. "It was a competition between 170 enterprises and only three of us won. We were chosen by the Peace Nobel Awards, whom felt attracted toward what we did and our history. With it we achieved visibility among the international community to obtain cooperation resources and possible investors. When we entered Putumayo, it wasn't easy to build a company." said Edgar.
This award is one more incentive for Edgar's work, who sais it is more a philosophy that anything. "We really want to generate change, it's the only way to have better perspectives for the years to come. Farmers who have lived coke directly feel scared to substitute those plantations, so it's important to modify that mindset to reach a different and better future." Emphasizes Montenegro.
Each year, the Business for Peace Foundation recognizes corporate world leaders who follow the organizations foundations, which consist in creating worthy business not only for ethical economic criteria, but also for the added value given to the society. After a preselection made by the International Chamber of Commerce and the United Nations, the winners are selected by the Peace Nobel Awards.
According to its webpage, the Business for Peace Foundation recognized Montenegro for his brave achievements proving how the privet sector can build peace by identifying business opportunities that can help marginalized groups to be more resilient.