According to the International Cocoa Organization (“ICCO”), the global deficit of cocoa will reach approximately 1 million tons by 2020 as demand continues on the rise, potentially leading to extinction of the seed . Research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasted in 2014 that countries within the area suitable for cocoa to thrive will experience a 3.8°F (2.1°C) increase in temperature by 2050 and hence will see a marked reduction in suitable cultivation area .
2016 proved to be a year of success in the Colombian cocoa industry as key players like Fedecacao (the Colombian National Federation of Cocoa Producers), the Ministry of Agriculture and members of the private sector such as CasaLuker, a family business with over 100 years of operation, have intervened to support growth. They have worked on developing technical expertise and investing on R&D for farmers to adapt to a changing environment. Despite multiple hits from natural phenomena like El Niño, the country has been able to increase production by 3.6% YoY, setting national record highs .
Will advancing harvesting techniques and innovation for sustainable practices in the industry be enough to offset the effect of climate change and open opportunities for profitability and growth?
Colombia, 8th place in the ICCO ranking, has around 27,000 cocoa producers with crops that expand to an area of 164,000 hectares. 350 municipalities of the country produce the plant, approximately 38,000 families work on harvesting alone and over 100,000 jobs depend on the national supply chain of cocoa . In spite of the impact of 15 months of the El Niño phenomenon that hit the country in 2016, one of the strongest ever recorded, national cocoa production grew to an outstanding 56,785 tons .
Founded in 1906, CasaLuker, one of the most successful entrepreneurial efforts in Colombia, has positioned itself as one of the key players in the cocoa and derived products business, owning 31% of the exports of such products, as of 2013. With presence in 41 countries, the company is recognized by the ICCO as an exporter of 100% Fino de Aroma (high quality) cocoa, a highly regarded quality in the international markets .
CasaLuker has acknowledged the challenges that changing environmental conditions bring to the future of the businesses and therefore has invested in developing one of the few centers of research and development in the world that dedicates to modernize practices in the harvesting process of cocoa, called “La Granja Luker” (“Luker” farm). Founded in 1962 , the main purpose is to train local farmers to improve critical practices in harvesting under changing environmental conditions, fertilization techniques, pruning methods, plantation layouts and efficient pest management to increase productivity and ensure sustainability. According to CasaLuker’s statistics, Granja Luker trains approximately 700 farmers per year and has trained over 30,000 farmers over the past 50 years. Their laboratories have discovered 14 genome varieties of cocoa  through applied research projects. Through continuous innovation, the company has been able to achieve major improvements that have had long lasting effects on the farming community.
Given the company´s recent success in their international business, growing 8.5% YoY, management efforts have focused on launching new products, opening new channels and platforms of commercialization and distribution to be more efficient and to improve their client reach5, setting ambitious goals for 2017, expecting 12% growth YoY. In addition, the company has made debut in important industry fairs all over the globe and has invested in redesigning the brand to raise its attractiveness for investors . CasaLuker has also engaged in partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to create a community-owned cocoa cooperative in a high-risk region as an alternative to illegal production of coca, violence and crime .
‘La Granja Luker’. Source 
CasaLuker has proven its commitment to sustainability and to secure future opportunities for growth. However, climate change should not be taken for granted. Now that CasaLuker is opening doors with international investors, strategic topics such as potential investment in infrastructure and further R&D for break-through discoveries like climate-resilient plant genomes should be addressed. The company should be in the quest for funding to help expand production as approximately 600,000 hectares of land in the country provide appropriate conditions for harvesting , encouraging the development of new technologies that could help secure their desired sustainable growth while meeting international standards. Stressing the positive outcomes of this new era of peace could turn out to be strategic for first entrants in an industry with high entry barriers.
How could the company bring interest from potential investors to ensure sustainability of their supply chain in the long term? Would investors still be interested even if the effort implied waiting for at least a decade to see ROI while securing a standing plantation that could last a century?
 Revista Dinero; “”Se podrían acabar las semillas de cacao en 2020″, ICCO”; June 29th, 2016; http://www.dinero.com/empresas/articulo/escasez-de-chocolate-va-a-aumentar-su-precio-en-2020/225187; accessed on November, 2017.
 Scott, Michael; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; “Climate & Chocolate”; February 10th, 2017; https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-chocolate; accessed on November 2017.
 Revista Dinero; “Colombia alcanza récord en producción de cacao, ¿cómo lo ha hecho?”; August 2nd, 2017; http://www.dinero.com/economia/articulo/produccion-de-cacao-alcanza-cifra-historica-en-colombia/241797; accessed on November, 2017.
 Federacion Nacional de Cacaoteros; “Producción Nacional de Cacao en Grano (Ton) ”; Data as of December, 2016; http://www.fedecacao.com.co/portal/index.php/es/2015-02-12-17-20-59/nacionales; accessed on November, 2017.
 Revista Dinero; “CasaLuker, el emprendimiento chocolatero con más de un siglo de historia”; July 20th, 2017; http://www.dinero.com/edicion-impresa/caratula/articulo/casaluker-y-su-estrategia-en-el-comercio-internacional/247657 ; accessed on November 2017.
 Casa Luker; “Granja Luker”; Company Website (Video); http://www.casaluker.com/granja-luker/; accessed on November, 2017.
 Jurgens, Chris; Devex Impact; “Innovating partnerships: USAID’s views on the future of partnership”; March 6th, 2016; https://www.devex.com/news/innovating-partnerships-usaid-s-views-on-the-future-of-partnership-87842; accessed on November, 2017.
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service; “Cacao for Peace. (CFP) Overview”; July 29th, 2017; https://gain.fas.usda.gov/Recent%20GAIN%20Publications/Cacao%20for%20Peace%20%28CFP%29%20Overview_Bogota_Colombia_7-28-2016.pdf; accessed on November, 2017.
 Proexport Colombia, Official Investment Portal; Government of Colombia; “Colombia commits itself to Cocoa”; http://www.investincolombia.com.co/publication/magazine/799-colombia-commits-itself-to-cacao.html; accessed on November, 2017.
 Casa Luker, Company Website for ‘Cacao Fino de Aroma’; “The Land of Cacao Fino de Aroma”; September 27th, 2017; http://www.cacaofinodearoma.com/fr/noticias/the-land-of-cacao-fino-de-aroma/; accessed on November, 2017.
 Featured picture taken from http://www.latinamericanpost.com/index.php/trade-2/17483-colombia-cocoa-is-the-new-coca