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El Cinco Foundation, which is backed by local Colombian corporate social responsibility, works with Asofrutas a cooperative of Mora (Andean Blackberry) farmers based in the municipality of La Ceja, in the department of Antioquia, Colombia. Hundreds of employees donate 5% of their income, matched by their employers, hence the name El Cinco (the Five: 5%).

The employees and companies have been backing El Cinco to work with the Mora farmers since 2003. At that time in the mountains around Medellin farmers were living in poverty, suffering high levels of kidnapping and landmines. Colombia’s main source of power is hydro-electricity and this mountainous region produces power for large parts of Colombia. For this reason armed groups were trying to control the area and interrupt the power supply. This situation catalysed the corporate social responsibility of companies in Medellin to take positive action in the mountains around them. Thanks to this help, the Moreros (Mora farmers) have prospered and their area is much more peaceful and so now they are able to supply their fruit to us here in Birmingham!

In 2011, the Colombian companies started a new corporate social responsibility project: the Fruquena Horticultural School (Fruta Pequena – Small Fruit i.e. berries like Mora). This came about as a result of research done by El Cinco into how many teenage children of the Moreros would like to stay living in the countryside, if there were opportunities. Click here to find out more.