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MTC – Have a cacao treat with Colombian Cocoa Control System (COLCO)

EARTO Innovation Awards 2021 – Impact Expected Category


Colombia’s 50,000 cacao smallholders produce approximately 60,000 tons of cacao annually. The global chocolate sector is expected to continue to grow year on year at CAGR of 4.8% over the period 2021-2028. Currently, the sector suffers production losses of up to 60% due to pests, diseases, and non-standard post-harvest processes. Productivity is at a quarter of a theoretical maximum of 1600kg per hectare with varying product quality.

Innovation: EARTO member MTC – The Manufacturing Technology Centre is developing COLCO in collaboration with lead partner Satellite Applications Catapult. This value chain transformation project seeks to deliver a sustainable change through the implementation of a set of integrated technologies and services for the cacao value chain in Colombia. It increases productivity, monitors and controls fermentation and drying processes as well as delivers standardised quality assessment.

Impact Expected: The innovations are helpful tools especially for smallholder farmers to deliver higher yields, better quality, consistent cacao in a fairer, more transparent price, improving their socio-economic welfare. COLCO has already supported 260 farms, trained over 500 farmers, developed 7 applications, and is currently running 7 post-harvest pilots in-country. Over the next 5 years, COLCO aims to impact at least 10% of the current market (5,000 farmers) through scaling with strategic partners in Colombia and the UK. The approach can be scaled across other supply chains in other geographies, increasing the attainable impact of COLCO.

More information about this innovation

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), established in 2010, is an independent RTO aiming at bridging the gap between academia and industry – often referred to as ‘the valley of death’.