Acceso Colombia – Luis Humberto Cepeda, Agricultural Engineer
Thirty-five-year-old Luis Humberto Cepeda is an agricultural engineer for Acceso Colombia. He has had an extensive career in the agricultural sector having worked in numerous agribusinesses across Colombia, offering technical assistance to producers prior to joining Acceso.
Luis’ first contact with Acceso was through the operation in Cartagena. Impressed by the work of the Clinton Foundation globally and what he observed in Cartagena, he decided to apply to work with Acceso. He started in the commercial side and quickly transitioned to his current role as agricultural engineer.
“Each week, I visit a number of producers based on the weekly plan. I provide personalized assistance, assess the state of their crops, work to eliminate any difficulties that they may be facing, and make sure they have followed the recommendations I left during my last visit. What I enjoy the most is being able to spend time with and learn from the smallholder farmers. While it’s true that they need a lot of support to improve their productivity, they’re also very knowledgeable. It’s wonderful to combine the knowledge they’ve built upon over the years, with the expertise that we bring as agriculture professionals. It’s really what I enjoy the most about my job.”
According to Luis, one of the most challenging aspects of his job is dealing with the cultural paradigms, traditions, and ancestral practices that surround smallholder farming in Colombia and make smallholder farmers less efficient and productive. “To overcome some of the cultural norms that make some farmers resist change, we show producers how to practically apply what we teach them. Showing them the benefits of our recommendations is an effective way of making sure they adopt good agricultural practices…it’s gratifying to see producers slowly adopt innovations that help improve their yields, income and quality of life.”
Luis is certain that Acceso can become one of the most important businesses not only in Colombia but also Latin America, through the replication of a model that offers an important social and economic impact. “I dream about empowering smallholder farmers, giving them a voice and presence in Colombia, making sure that they are recognized as innovative producers who play an essential role in the Colombian agricultural sector. I want Acceso to be one of the tools that allows them to improve their quality of life.”