Cultivating cocoa and coffee in the world's highest coastal mountains


Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

About the project:

Colombia's Sierra Nevada National Park features the highest coastal mountain range in the world and numerous endemic and threatened species. Located in the buffer zone of this protected area, the RioSierra Project aims to encourage sustainable local coffee production through agroforestry. It is the second project funded by Initiative 20x20 partner Urapi Sustainable Land Use.

The project was co-designed with Red Ecolsierra, a collective of 22 coffee farmer associations that was established in 2001 and currently boasts 394 members. Red Ecolsierra has proven to be highly entrepreneurial, creating partnerships with honey cooperative Apisierra, acquiring a warehouse and small-scale facilities to transform coffee and honey production, and experimenting with organic fertilizer and pesticides. Urapi's investment will allow Red Ecolsierra to realize its full ambition while multiplying positive environmental and social impacts via:

  • Financial support for restoring land via sustainable coffee and cocoa agroforestry systems and honey production 
  • Carbon credit generation within a Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) certified project 
  • State-of-the-art dry processing mill, collection centers and compost production plant, co-owned by co-ops, for improved quality and traceability
  • Sales of the project’s coffee, cocoa, honey and carbon credits

Over its lifespan, the project will:  

  • Increase incomes of 1,500 producers 
  • Convert 4,500 hectares of degraded farmland to sustainable agroforestry  
  • Conserve 70,000 hectares of forest  
  • Sequester and avoid 1,300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions

Investment type




US$ 8,000,000

Media contact:

For more information contact or visit the project's website

Member Cooperative: 

  • Red Ecolsierra