In Colombia, the EU Trust Fund demonstrated its ability to quickly turn political priorities into action on the ground. Following the agreement between President Santos and Commissioner Mimica in May 2018 to devote € 15 million of the Trust Fund to support the reincorporation of former FARC combatants, activities started in the Temporary Reincorporation Centre of Agua Bonita (Caquetá) as soon as August.
260 ex-combatants live with their families in this centre where they handed over their arms to the UN in mid-2017. Now, the EU Trust Fund is helping them to transition into civilian life. The project has built a production facility to process the 3 Has of pineapple planted by the ex-combatants, so that a higher added value could be obtained from their production. Through technical advice, training and support to establish commercial alliances, the first harvest of 3 Tons has now been sold out.
But reincorporation is not just about the money. It is above all about rebuilding the social fabric that the 50 year conflict destroyed. The EU works in this project not only with ex-combatants but also, or specially, with more than 2.500 peasants in this area who were the ones that suffered the consequences of the protracted violence and must now be at the centre of development efforts.
As the Colombian press has put it, in Agua Bonita, arms were changed by pineapples: El Tiempo - En Agua Bonita cambiaron los fusiles por las piñas
The project "Territorios Caqueteños para la Paz" is led by Portugal through the Instituto Marques de Valle Flor (IVMF) with a total budget of € 4.6 millon out of which the EU Trust Fund contributes € 3.8 mill. It takes place in the municipalities of La Montañita and El Paujil, one of the areas most heavily affected by the conflict in Colombia.