Contributing to the processes of food sovereignty in the departments of Huila, Caquetá, Putumayo and Tolima. - Colombia

Latin American Savings and Loan Cooperative Utrahuilca - Colombia, January 2022

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Latin American Savings and Loan Cooperative Utrahuilca - Colombia

Description of the Social Solidarity Economy:

The Cooperative Ultrahuilca is a non-profit associative structure specialized in savings and credit, framed by the philosophy and doctrine of solidarity economy. It contributes to the sustainable human, social and economic development of its members and communities through cooperative education, business training and the generation of productive projects leveraged through savings and credit products. It is based in southern Colombia, specifically in the departments of Huila, Caquetá, Putumayo and Tolima.

The beneficiaries of this initiative are 61,986 members and the inhabitants of the departments of Huila, Caquetá, Putumayo and Huila.

The Cooperative Ultrahuilca is associated with the cooperative integration and training center CINCOP, that is part of the National Bureau of Solidarity Economy of Colombia, partner organisation of RIPESS LAC.

Covid-19 context

Utrahuilca has created the Utrahuilca Social Foundation - Fundautrahuilca to support the communities and territories where the widely accepted Utrahuilcan Farmers’ Markets programme is implemented.

It has now been extended to various municipalities in Huila, such as Pitalito, San Agustín, Tesalia and even to departments such as Caquetá, where it is prospering and advancing with very successful results.

The farming families participating in this process have been trained through another of the organization’s flagship projects: the diploma courses in Productive Gardens and courses in cooperativism. Their implementation has finally led them to become part of the large network of farmers’ markets that allows them to sell their products to consumers without intermediaries, so the best of the Colombian country produce can reach their tables.

This initiative has been maintained by generating a virtual logistics platform and strict biosecurity protocols during the pandemic, guaranteeing the continuity of sales and income for farming families affected by the closures and the compulsory isolation decreed by the State during the health emergency caused by Covid 19, as well as contributing to the processes of food sovereignty in the departments where it is present during the lockdown.

Likewise, the concern for the welfare of its members and the community in general has led FUNDAUTRAHUILCA to move into the health sector, which is why REDSORSA has begun operations. Last year it started its development, and this year has been implemented. The main objective is to provide quality services and access to health care throughout the region where the Latin American Savings and Loan Cooperative UTRAHUILCA is present, guaranteeing its members access and availability of services at affordable prices in terms of laboratories, diagnostic tests, pharmacy, consultations, and treatment by medical specialists.

Description of the Social Solidarity Economy initiative:

● Utrahuilcan Farmers’ Markets:

Creation of a virtual and logistical platform so that farmers in the region can sell their products without intermediaries, guaranteeing income to farming families that allows them a quality of life, while contributing to the food sovereignty of the participating departments. Flexible credit lines were also generated so that farmers could continue their production.


Creation of a specialized health center to provide quality health care to members and their families, as well as to the community in the departments where it is present.

Key actions / activities:

● Implementation of Farmers’ Markets.

● Health care.

● Development of solidarity financial products.

Key partners:

Utrahuilca’s partners are mainly farmers, small producers and traders living in the departments of Huila, Caquetá, Putumayo and Tolima.

Main results and impact:

• Contribution to food sovereignty.

• Income security for farming families.

• Healthcare.