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More Investment for Sustainable Alternative Development, Colombia

The USAID/Colombia MIDAS Project (More Investment in Sustainable Alternative Development) was one of USAID/Colombia’s largest projects designed to provide alternative livelihoods and increased incomes for very poor population groups in regions affected by coca production and paramilitary violence.  The project had five components including agribusiness, forestry and SMEs. JAA’s person was promoted to lead the Agro-Forestry component.  JAA also provided leadership on the SME and agribusiness components.  JAA contributed long term local expertise and short-term expatriate expertise for project design, value chain assessment and design of innovative climate-change related projects.

JAA led the competitiveness assessment project that evaluated 49 agricultural products in six geographic corridors (segregated by agro-climatic zone). JAA then conducted in-depth analyses of the 29 most profitable products, identifying constraints to their further development.

JAA conducted value chain mapping and assessments of forestry products to identify projects and activities with potential for MIDAS funding. Once the products were identified, JAA also produced marketing strategies for each. JAA also created a USD 27 million Forestry Investment fund, soliciting contributions from pension funds, and private and multilateral lenders.

Under the forestry component, JAA integrated carbon emission reduction into economic growth by establishing a carbon swap program to encourage investment in forest-preserving value chains. The project has contracted a large multinational carbon trading company to purchase carbon credits.  To date, the project has covered 250,000 hectares and has had the following results:

    • Prevention of the deforestation and degradation of about 30,000 hectares of tropical moist forests.
    • Design and implementation of a food safety program covering for more than 7,000 families.
    • Direct creation of about 1,000 jobs
  • JAA established the business development strategy for the SME component. JAA then coordinated USAID’s effort to develop a nation-wide network of NGOs dedicated to SME advocacy, and designed and facilitated the review process for SME development projects.

Development and application of a REDD+ (the + indicates that the project also addressed community development) methodology for the forests of the Colombian Pacific.

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