National launch: PlaSA Colombia, Keeping track of food in the country

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PlaSA Colombia, the country’s first food systems monitoring platform was officially launched together with a group of national experts.

Click to read the Spanish version

The national launch of the Food Systems Platform – PlaSA Colombia, developed within the framework of the National Policies and Strategies initiative, took place on April 27th at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota. This initiative contributes to the construction of more solid policies and strategies, with greater coherence and capacity, to help meet current policy demands and future development needs. The event had 60 attendees in person and 593 visits to the live broadcast on YouTube, an audience that, with their questions energized the panel and allowed addressing the challenges currently facing the food system from different perspectives.

Speaking: Camilo Montes, director of ANDI’s food industry chamber. Photo credit Daniela Salas Betancourt/ NPS & Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

To open the launch, a panel of experts moderated by: María Fernanda Mideros, Director of the Center on Agrifood Systems at the Los Andes University, formed by: Sara Eloisa del Castillo, Director of the Observatory of Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security of the National University of Colombia (OBSSAN UN), Felipe Fonseca, General Director of the Rural Agricultural Planning Unit (UPRA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and with Diego Mora, FAO Representative in Colombia, discussed the challenges that the Colombian food system is facing and the possible institutional and policy actions that should be taken to address these challenges. They also highlighted the importance of informed awareness of food consumption, the importance of knowing more about the supply system and the different diets in both urban and rural areas, as well as information systems at regional and local levels, understanding the political, cultural as well as economic diversity of Colombia, allowing for a better understanding of the food systems in the country.

From left to right: Sara Eloisa del Castillo, Felipe Fonseca, Diego Mora and María Fernanda Mideros. Photo Credit: Daniela Salas Betancourt/ NPS & Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

PlaSA Colombia was then presented to all attendees, virtual and on site, representatives of different public and private entities such as universities, NGOs, federations, and other stakeholders of the national food system, inviting them to join the platform through the contribution of new data and studies to nurture its content and enhance its usefulness. The appropriation of the platform was also promoted for the analysis and decision-making exercises of the entities to be agreed, as well as encouraging participation in the spaces for dialogue and discussion around the platform’s findings, leading to inputs and policy recommendations.

PlaSA Colombia National Launch. Photo Credit: Daniela Salas Betancourt/NPS & Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

PlaSA Colombia is a key tool to improve the understanding of the food system in Colombia, addressing the different components associated with it in a comprehensive manner, through the reporting, monitoring, and analysis of data around food supply, nutrition, and climate change, the platform contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of food systems, democratizing and translating complex data, providing key inputs for discussion and decision making.

What kind of information does PlaSA offer?

So far PlaSA has 9 information dashboards on some of the main aspects of the country’s food systems.

The goal is to continue nourishing it with the support of all interested partners and to present as much data as possible on each of the elements of the food system. There is still a long way to go, but we will continue to make steady progress.

Sara Ranking, Senior Research Associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

So far, existing dashboards present information related to: Places of origin of food arriving at the main food supply centers in the country, distance traveled, distribution of livestock in Colombia, food transport routes and trips by type of vehicle, the environmental impact of food transport, food production, and its financing. In addition, a dashboard is presented with an exercise carried out for Cali, by the Javeriana University, Cali, on the cost of three types of diets and their affordability. This exercise is expected to be replicated in other cities and gives an indication of how much of the population of the third-largest city in the country can afford a healthy diet, and the results are surprising.

“The greatest value I see in PlaSA’s platform is that it tries to answer questions, not only to be a flat repository that has data, I think it makes an interesting exercise of crossing information, answering questions, and being useful for the ordinary citizen in situations of being able to know the food system in each of its links to the extent of the technical possibilities that implies having an information system or platform with these conditions.”
Sara Eloisa del Castillo, director of the observatory of food systems of the National University.

The launch of PlaSA Colombia marks the beginning of a road ahead in the search for joint solutions to the challenges facing the Colombian food system. The platform is configured as a space that makes relevant information and analysis tools available to stakeholders and interested entities to address these challenges. In short, it is an important step towards the construction of a more sustainable, equitable, and efficient food system in Colombia.

We encourage you to get to know this tool, to explore it and to help us improve it. PlaSA Colombia, the country’s food systems at a click.  

In this link you can see the complete launch event and below you can see the interviews that bring together the different perspectives of the actors who were part of the launch:

Sara Eloisa Del Castillo: Director of the Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security Observatory of the National University of Colombia.

Felipe Fonseca: General Director of the Rural Agricultural Planning Unit (UPRA)

Diego Mora: Assistant Representative and Program Officer of FAO Colombia

Camilo Montes: Director of the ANDI Food Industry Chamber


  • Daniela Salas Betancourt, Country communicator, CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS) ,and  Analyst, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT
  • Sara Rankin, Research associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT
  • Johana Castillo, Research associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

Photo credits:

  • Daniela Salas Betancourt, Country communicator, CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS) ,and  Analyst, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT

This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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