The Pride of Plantain

How a public-private partnership is solving several problems for Meta’s plantain growers and winning support in unlikely places.

By Land and Rural Development Program in Colombia

When Meta-based plantain growers’ association Asoplagran made its second shipment of plantain to Grupo Éxito, the Colombian multinational firm returned 30 kilograms of fruit that did not meet its standards. Edilson Aguilar and his colleagues were overjoyed, since they had originally delivered more than three tons.

“Grupo Éxito’s inspectors gave us good feedback and were quite impressed with our plantains,” explains Aguilar. “We are building our relationship with Grupo Éxito. The negotiation is straightforward, and they are not the same type of tyrant you see with traders in the local market.”

Thanks to the PPP, Asoplagran and three additional growers’ associations sat face-to-face with Colombian buyers—including Grupo Éxito and Cencosud—Colombia’s largest food retailers. The business conference, set up by thanks to the Meta Chamber of Commerce, is an example of USAID’s power to convene market players and broker new relationships.

USAID helped create the plantain PPP in early 2018 to leverage government support, gain interest from the private sector, and give producers the chance to continue improving their skills and knowledge. The partnership is valued at approximately US$400,000 (COP1,180 million), includes investments from four municipal governments, and benefits 130 growers from four plantain growers’ associations, such as Asoplagran.