The Botero brothers from Antioquia – Colombia had a dream, which started eight years ago: to reach many kitchens and transform them, dignifying work in the countryside and supporting small producers. The founders Mariana, Elisa, Juan Pablo and Luis Miguel decided to combine efforts and capabilities and thus create Del Campo por Tradición SAS using the brand “Pomario”.
With an organic production, they began to offer different products like lettuce, cabbage, radish, spinach, chard, carrot, edible flowers, based on their purpose of ‘eating better’: tastier, healthier and special.
In this way they experimented with flavors, sensations, seeds and different cultivation practices until they obtained a diversity of products as pre-packed salads, sprouts, edible flowers, and micro vegetables that are now offered in large stores (supermarkets), for the HORECA sector (hotels, restaurants and coffee shops) and also through online sales to reach the final consumer directly.
Pomario hopes to continue its expansion process in the country as a socially conscious company that seeks to promote organic agriculture, the formalization of work in the Colombian countryside, and the creation of opportunities for its employees.
The four brothers have been trained in prestigious universities in Latin America in environmental, industrial and agronomy engineering, surrounding themselves with other workers who complement their abilities, making Pomario a company that leads the way in the production of special vegetables in the country.
Working as a family has given them the opportunity to strengthen the concept of unity (rather than generating problems). Forming an extended family with all the people linked to the company, where the common principles of generating social and environmental impact are shared makes Pomario a life project and special mystique.
The entrepreneurs have two clear dreams: on the one hand, with their motto “With Pomario, eating better is easier” they want to consolidate their presence throughout Colombia and also explore possibilities of exporting their products to regional markets. On the other hand, dignifying the work in rural areas, a necessary basis for the development of any company in the food sector.
Most of the rural population in Colombia works under informal conditions (85%). They do not have an employment contract, nor social benefits. They do not have access to quality health care and have no access to a decent pension for old age.
40% of the Colombian territory has erosion problems due to deforestation or bad agricultural practices. This makes life even more difficult for farmers, since their survival and well-being depend on the well-being of the land.
Del Campo por Tradición – Pomario is contributing with an innovative production model to solve these two problems and transform the way in which Colombia produces and consumes vegetables in a sustainable way. Pomario formalizes the working rural population in its areas of influence. Nowadays Pomario is employing 55 people, of which 45 are smallholders farmers (60% women).
Its employees have incomes above 25% compared with the national average income of the rural population in Colombia. Likewise, they have an education program through which they finance 50% of the student fee of anyone who wants to continue their studies. The social innovation about this model is the possibility to increase the income of the farmers based on a productivity bonus that is not common in Colombia for smallholders.
In addition, Pomario uses organic production techniques to ensure the reduction of erosion problems that afflict the country and the improvement of the ecosystems surrounding its production areas, increasing its levels of organic matter and renewing the biodiversity of its soils.
To generate wage formality for the farmers having a permanent salary and having access to social security and healthy insurance, receiving training and finally, giving people the possibilities to have a job in violent areas that were dedicated to illegal crops, is a good evidence of development and change based on the approach of a social vision company.
“Pomario is one of the companies that we have closely followed in the last five years, beginning with a process of business development services and after taking a certain distance where we both gained the necessary experience to confirm that as partners we can go further. In the end of 2022 we closed a partnership agreement that was complemented with the loan of an additional impact fund named NESsT.
For Truvalu it is very important to support companies that are developing innovative production models and at the same time incorporating technology and knowledge that are shared with small producers.
Pomario is a company that realized that when higher production volume forms are developed, they must also be accompanied by efficient ways of generating orders and delivery, thus maintaining a unique value proposition in the market – reaching the consumer in a timely no more than 24 hours after harvesting the products.
We are very happy to accompany Pomario in its dream of improving the conditions of the countryside in Colombia and feeding homes with special vegetables, improving their consumption habits”
Andres Jimenez – Truvalu
Pomario has included some technology for the sowing, harvesting and the germination rates of the seeds have increased and times and quality of the harvest have been reduced to fulfill their promise of making deliveries in less than 24 hours.
The company handles very delicate products that are difficult to produce on a large scale, and even more complicated to reach clients in a country that has a large territorial extension. However, Pomario has been able to improve its productive capacity, mechanize certain processes and also make strategic alliances to overcome logistical limitations that prevented it from having a constant and convenient presence in the main cities.
This combination of factors is what makes Pomario a company with high potential and positions it as a pioneer in a market that is highly demanding of quality products.
Closing the deal with Truvalu and receiving the additional finance from NESsT gives to Pomario the possibility to scale up the production area with 5,5 new hectares of greenhouses, 10 additional hectares to boost production and to allow the company to build a second processing plant that will double capacity and also the sales in 2023.
Besides, the company has developed an important alliance with Setas de Cuivá a company that is part of Nutresa group (one of the largest food companies worldwide), this fact will help Pomario to improve logistic capacity to reach more cities.
Finally the company is strengthening the commercial team and dabbling in Vertical agriculture, that allows the company to immerse into the indoor farming world, giving them the clues for making future decisions about how to produce more efficiently.
The challenge of having a permanent national presence also requires the company to improve governance and the decision-making process, where strategic decisions and good cash flow management will be essential in its expansion process.