Colombia, which accounts for an estimated 10% of the planet's biodiversity, is one of the world's megadiverse countries, identified as such by the Environmental Conservation Monitoring Center, an agency of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the world's leading environmental authority. The country has an extensive variety of plant species of incalculable value that contribute to this recognition, at a time when the protection of biodiversity has become crucial. This is shared with the rest of the world through companies that advocate sustainability, such as Sugoiport. In fact, Colombia is a major global supplier of exotic fruits, including gulupa, whose production has increased dramatically in recent years.
"In the municipality of Mogotes, in the department of Santander, we have 280 hectares suitable for cultivation. At the moment, we are harvesting 4 tons of gulupa per month, although this figure could grow to 12 tons per month, especially since this is a relatively new project. In fact, there is potential to reach up to 60 tons per month," says Pilar Núñez Reina, of Sugoiport.
"The fruit is grown on a farm with a total of 400 hectares that has been declared a Forest Reserve by the Sociedad Civil de Reservas Naturales de Colombia. In it there are 60 hectares of native forests and several water sources, all of which are kept undamaged. There are also 280 hectares for agricultural use in different thermal floors at between 1,700 and 2,400 meters, where in addition to gulupa, it is also possible to grow Hass avocados, granadilla, feijoa, blackberry, pitahaya, gualchapa or maracuba."
"Our focus is on sustainable organic agriculture and we offer frozen fruits and pulp 100% ready for use from these species that are native to the region," says Pilar.
"We are interested in having certifications that confirm the quality of the product we offer. At the moment, we already have the ICA Registration, the Colombian Government certification for the fruit that is exported, and the GlobalG.A.P., Kosher, Rainforest Alliance, EurepGAP, Fair Trade and Gluten Free are being processed. Besides the production, we are interested in attracting investments in agriculture from foreign capital that can help strengthen exports of Colombian products abroad."
The gulupa, a sustainable and responsible agroecological project in Mogotes
The farm where gulupa is grown, and where there are several greenhouses devoted to the production of the plants and fruit, called Miraflores, belongs to Dr. Wilson Vargas and inherited it from his parents, who were the original owners.
"In the time that this family has owned the land, the crops have never been treated with agrochemicals. In the last 25 years, the 5 Vargas Corzo brothers and medical colleagues have joined forces to manage this project, which seeks to promote the health of individuals and help in maintaining a healthy nutrition. In this process they have been accompanied by health professionals from different medical and paramedical areas, as well as other leaders promoting healthy food consumption," says Pilar Núñez.
"Gulupa has a rich antioxidant content and it helps prevent and better control chronic diseases, which makes it true bioregulating food. Besides, we have more than 10 other fruit species that can be planted in this thermal floor."
In addition to health promotion, this project is based on the use of sustainable and equitable agroecological principles and on social and ecological responsibility.
"The gulupa production project in Mogotes pursues the formalization of agricultural work and for all workers involved in the production and marketing of our products to have access to comprehensive social security, which in Colombia involves health coverage, pension rights, care in case of accidents and occupational diseases, and welfare programs for them and their families."
"It also seeks to promote the education of the families of farm workers, which will allow them to progress and improve their quality of life. The agricultural producers who benefit from the project should also have access to their own homes, built in decent sanitary conditions, as this helps foster the personal and social development of each family."
"With this project, we also want to raise awareness in the entire supply chain (producers-logisticians-sales channels) and among final consumers about the fact that environmental care is fundamental to obtain true bioregulating food. Agricultural producers should be aware of the value of their work and the true importance of growing healthy food, and of crops going directly from field to fork, without intermediaries."
"We want to permanently share the experiences gathered in the project with neighbors, friends and other inhabitants of the municipality and nearby towns, raising awareness of the importance of caring for the land and keeping it suitable for the production of clean crops," says Pilar.
For more information:
Pilar Núñez Reina
SugoiPort - Colombia