Dax Cooke’s 10/13/2016 CEO Update
On October 5, I met with Farmfolio’s executive team to discuss our progress and upcoming tasks at Ganaderia Pietrasanta (GP). However, I would like to focus this CEO Update on telling our investors and friends about the ongoing peace process in Colombia. As many of you might know, the current government led by President Juan Manuel Santos was engaged in public negotiations with the FARC guerrilla group over the last four years. Under the watchful eye of the United Nations and the international community, the government and the FARC settled upon and signed a Peace Treaty earlier this year. Afterwards, in the spirit of democracy, President Santos submitted the terms of the agreement to a public vote on October 2.
After a couple weeks of intense campaigning, the result of the referendum came down against the current terms of the agreement by slight difference of less than one (1) percent, representing approximately 60.000 votes. Therefore, ever since the referendum results and continuing into the coming weeks, three main actors have dominated the Colombian political scene. These are the governing National Unity coalition alongside President Santos, the main opposition formation of the Democratic Center led by former President Alvaro Uribe, and the leaders of the FARC guerilla. During this critical time, President Santos has shown remarkable leadership in summoning all three parties to a dialogue. Throughout the Colombian political class and civil society, peace is the consensus choice and all actors have emphasized their willingness to grant concessions in order to find compromise and ensure the prompt implementation of the Peace Treaty.
Colombia made history once again on October 7, when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded President Juan Manuel Santos its yearly peace prize for his resolute efforts to end the country’s armed conflict. This recognition restores the political momentum in favor of President Santos and highlights the historic transition that Colombia is going through. Read 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
Furthermore, the recognition by the Nobel Committee of President Santos’ efforts and commitment to the creation of a lasting peace in Colombia reaffirms the unequivocal support that the international community has offered to the peace process throughout the last several years. Last week, President Santos created a commission composed of three representatives from his own ministers as well as three representatives from the opposition sectors in order to revise the terms of the agreement. Said commission is working quickly and has already submitted its first list of recommendations for enhancing the terms of agreement. Within the coming weeks, and with the necessary adjustments, all sectors of the political class are expected to rally behind the finalized Peace Treaty. Furthermore, over the last week there have been numerous mass demonstrations in favor of the Peace Treaty in major cities throughout the country.
As it relates to Farmfolio’s operation in the country, economic indicators remain positive and the valuation of the Colombian Peso has remained stable over the last few weeks. Similarly, rural and agricultural development through sustainable farming and foreign investment remain a central national policy.
At Ganaderia Pietrasanta (GP) harvests are going great. The purchase of cattle for 2016 is almost complete and the latest count is of approximately 1,800 head. We anticipate the first sales cycles to start in the month of November and continue through January. Afterwards, we are scheduled to purchase a new batch of cattle between March and April; thus, giving the grazing land at the farm at least one month to recover. In total, for 2017, we expect three rotations with approximately 1,500 head of cattle each, which will total approximately 4,500 head throughout the whole year.
The majority of the 11,000 green coconuts have started germinating in their sand beds, where the young seedlings receive protection from bruising, grazing animals and freedom from weed competition. Over the coming weeks, as germination and growth continues, the coconuts will be moved into their permanent homes. Afterwards, the second order of 5,000 nuts is scheduled to arrive in November, according to schedule. By then, the nursery will be ready to host this new batch of seeds for the germination process. Finally, the expectation is to have all 250 hectares of green coconut planted by the end of 2017.
Sales for GP II are advancing steadily. If you, or a friend, are interested in the GP II offering, please contact Rita Karpel at [email protected] Please stay in touch with our weekly newsletter and Facebook page as well as my new webinar series.