Recently Opened Organic Fertilizer Plant Employs 30 Colombian Men and Women Demobilized from Illegal Armed Groups

The second of 10 planned organic fertilizer plants, which will provide employment to 300 men and women demobilized from illegal armed groups, recently opened in the city of Medellín.

The plants raise earthworms to produce solid and liquid humus, a brown or black organic substance consisting of partially or wholly decayed vegetable or animal matter that provides nutrients for plants and increases the ability of soil to retain water.

The 2,500 square metre plant treats up to 3.5 tonnes of organic waste per day, which translates into a monthly production of 40 tonnes of solid humus and 3,000 liters of liquid humus, all of which will be purchased by Biprocol Company.

Biprocol Company is implementing the project under the coordination of Colombia's High Commission for Reintegration (ACR), with technical support from IOM, and funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mayor's Office of Medellín.

The employees receive government assistance for education, health care and psychosocial support, while they are training to become technicians in earthworm raising.

At the plant's opening ceremony, Andrés Gonzalez, General Manager of Biprocol, said he is proud that the private sector, the government and international organizations have a chance to work together to create employment  for Colombians who believe in contributing to a peaceful country.

The Presidential High Commissioner for Reintegration, Frank Pearl, added that these joint endeavours lead to the successful economic reintegration of demobilized persons who need support in order to fully reintegrate and become autonomous citizens.

From November 2003 to August 2006, more than 31,000 members of the illegal self-defense groups had demobilized as a result of a peace process with the Colombian government.  IOM provides its support to the government of Colombia for the reintegration process of these men and women as they transition into civilian life.

The other plants are planned for the cities of Montería, Sincelejo, Valledupar, Cartagena and Pereira.

For more information visit www.oim.org.co and http://biprocol.com/