Overall Goal

The main focus of this team will be exploring cacao value addition in Montes de Maria, Colombia.

Company/Business and Location

Asociacion de Productores, Procesadores, Y Comercializadores de Productos Agropecuarios de San Jacinto Bolivar (ASOPROCOAS) is a grower association or farmer cooperative formed by cacao growers in Bolivar, Colombia.

Company Profile

Though its producers grow several different crops, ASPROCOAS was formed to address two important issues, 1) discover new ways to extract value out of their cacao crops and 2) formally promote and teach environmental stewardship of their region which is rich with diverse natural resources. Currently, ASPROCOAS has 22 official members and purchases cacao from nearly 50 producers. Over the next two years, the association plans to grow this number substantially and it has identified target regions for this expansion.

Their current market includes shops and markets in their hometown of San Jacinto. As they acquire more growers and raw cacao, they have outlined a two-step process to expand their market. First, they will target surrounding municipalities in the Montes de Maria region with their existing products and then branch out to expand to specialty markets in the United States and European Union.

Proposed Team Tasks

ASOPROCOAS has identified that the three areas they need the SMART team’s assistance are:
1. Market Development—identifying, understanding and documenting the global speciality cacao markets;
2. Product Development—explore potential demand for cacao products including the specifications for each market; and
3. Expansion Planning—engage with the association to chart path for expansion within the domestic and/or global markets.

Skill Requirements

The recommended skills for the execution of this project include, but not limited to:
• Good understanding of business (e.g. market analysis, strategic planning, financial modeling, etc) and development frameworks;
• Research, analytical and writing skills (e.g. publishable case study);
• Product development—Both market (e.g. packing, labeling, shipping, etc) and scientific (food processing, quality control, soil health, etc.) aspects; and
• Strong Communication—Spanish fluency is extremely helpful (but not a must depending on overall team’s fluency).

Suggested Timeline

Tentative dates are January 6-17, 2019

Team Leader

Project Advisor: Dr. Miguel Gomez, Associate Professor—Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Team Leader: Kalob Williams—Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

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