Creating Value for Colombia and Ecuador

Gran Tierra contributes to local, regional and national economic development in Colombia and Ecuador in many ways, including through taxes, royalties, jobs, local procurement of supplies and services, social investments, training and education programs and voluntary social and environmental programs.

In South America, the regions where energy resources are concentrated are often the most in need of sustained economic development. In addition to developing oil resources responsibly, Gran Tierra creates opportunities for employment, education, entrepreneurship and self-reliance.

The below projects show how GTE’s strategic investments are focused on creating opportunities and generating income and how this work is developing our neighbours, their businesses and is changing lives in the regions where we work.

Tax Revenues Directly Developing Local Territories

Works for Taxes (WFT) is a program created by the Colombian government that allows GTE to use up to 50% of its income tax contributions to directly develop and implement local projects that improve livelihoods, support economic development and help stabilize territories most affected by poverty and the previous armed conflict. WFT is also an important component of Colombia’s Territorially Focused Development Programs (PDETs) following the 2016 peace agreement signed between the FARC-EP guerrilla movement and the Colombian government. The PDETs are a vital tool for rural development and lasting territorial peace that empowers local communities to decide how funds should be invested in their territories.

Through WFT, Gran Tierra Energy has developed four projects targeting improvements of road infrastructure, education and housing in the Putumayo municipalities which experience high rates of poverty and food insecurity. Total investment for the first four projects were over COP $14.1 billion. GTE has provided kitchen equipment including refrigerators, freezers and ovens as well as tables and chairs for 152 school cafeterias through the WFT program. These projects have benefitted over 12,000 students and teachers, supporting increased food security for local students, as the participating schools will now have the ability to store and prepare nutritious food, keeping students in school longer.

Ten new Works for Taxes projects have been identified and will be further developed over the next two years. The projects have been chosen by local communities and in order to seek final approval from the Federal Government, Gran Tierra Energy will invest COP$5,300 million to undertake the technical studies required to make the projects viable. For example, the rural road improvement projects require preliminary base line studies focused on soil, pavement, and will undergo hydraulic testing. For the projects that will see improvements to local school infrastructure, Gran Tierra will fund the development of architectural and structural analyses. Once the projects are approved by the National Government, they will be implemented in the municipalities of Villagarzón, Mocoa, Puerto Asís, Orito and Valle del Guamuez, benefiting more than 22,000 people with a total cost of COP$63,000 million, also to be contributed by Gran Tierra Energy.

Putting Local Businesses First

GTE continues to increase opportunities for local contractors and suppliers through a strategy focusing on putting local companies first to meet its needs for goods and services, only expanding its search beyond the locality if no qualified providers are available. This also provides the companies access to programs administered in partnership with regional Chambers of Commerce to strengthen their skills and increase their capabilities.

Gran Tierra Energy awarded over USD$33.6 million in Colombian contracts to local companies for goods and services in 2022:

Cauca 6 $151.7 thousand
Putumayo 151 $20.4 million
Middle Magdalena Valley 50 $13.0 million
Yopal 5 $52.4 thousand
Total 212 $33.6 million

Key Partners was recognized as a finalist for the Colombian Emprender Paz Award—a first for an oil and gas company since the inception of the award, which was administered by an international alliance of foundations. The program was recognized for its role in providing economic opportunities to people affected by violence and contributing to peace in Colombia.

Key Partners

GTE’s successful Key Partners program has evolved from a simple award given to the best performing vendors into an integrated, multi-stage program with five components. This program has led to tremendous growth in the capabilities, capacity and competitiveness of vendors in the areas where the company operates.

Components of Key Partners:

  1. Developing close, beneficial relationships with existing and potential vendors through continuous contact with dedicated company staff. This ensures ongoing dialogue and alignment between vendor and company.
  2. Dedicated high-value training offered to managers and owners of vendor companies delivered in partnership with regional Chambers of Commerce.
  3. Supply Chain standards that ensure GTE’s contractors are also sourcing from local suppliers.
  4. Performance evaluations that measure, recognize and reward 4 outstanding vendors.
  5. Facilitating relationships between contractors and local suppliers to foster a growing ecosystem of opportunities for area businesses.

Members of the Key Partners program are expected to:

  • Offer high quality goods and services
  • Submit competitive proposals, both in price and quality, when invited to bid
  • Be a collaborative partner with the goal of ensuring that GTE operations are carried out safely and accurately
  • Respect corporate decisions made by GTE or its contractors
  • Understand and apply GTE’s human rights and anti-corruption policies in their business practices
  • Participate in activities developed by GTE aimed at strengthening business skills

Key Partners was recognized as a finalist for the Colombian Emprender Paz Award—a first for an oil and gas company since the inception of the award, which was administered by an international alliance of foundations. The program was recognized for its role in providing economic opportunities to people affected by violence and contributing to peace in Colombia.

Become a Gran Tierra Energy Key Partner

We are looking for the best contractors and vendors to be part of our operations and Key Partners program. If you offer excellent goods and services, fulfill the highest technical, economic and security standards, and can commit to applying the Gran Tierra Energy Suppliers Code of Conduct, please click the link below to proceed with the first step of registering in our vendor and contractor process.


Emprender+, GTE’s signature entrepreneurship-based social investment, is a critical component of GTE’s efforts to address local economic challenges to lift people out of poverty. For the last several years, the program has created opportunities for people to strengthen their businesses and launch new companies while bolstering local economies in Colombia’s Middle Magdalena Valley and Putumayo regions.

Emprender+ provides technical training, business management guidance, and seed capital along with recognition for innovative business ideas and execution. The program, carried out in partnership with the World Corporation for Women in Colombia (CMMC), also helps entrepreneurs navigate the technical, administrative and management challenges of operating a small business. The popularity of the program has grown steadily and rapidly from 30 to over 300 participating entrepreneurs since its inception, and over 1,500 people registered to participate since the program started in 2021.

For more information on Emprender+ visit the program’s website here.

Community Perspectives


I don’t know how to read or write, but I know business, numbers and shoes. Emprender+ taught me how to better organize and analyse my business. I hope that someday I can help other entrepreneurs open their own businesses.” REUBÈN GUITIÈRREZ


People often simply throw their used cooking oil away which can pollute the water and soil. We wanted to do something that would make a difference, environmentally, socially and healthwise, and that’s where the idea for this business came from. The people at Emprender+ really took me by the hand and dedicated their time to help me understand all the factors that go into the business which was a big reason for our success.” HEIDY QUIROGA


“When we started with Emprender+ we actually restructured our business model based on a diagnosis that helps us understand and strengthen our weaknesses. When you are an entrepreneur, not only are you motivated by the economic side, but also the social side. We love providing jobs and business opportunities for farmers to earn a living away from illicit crops.” ZORAIDA NARVAEZ & ROSMIRA NARVAEZ

Agroemprende Cacao – Creating Markets for Local Farmers

After more than 50 years of conflict between the Colombian government and guerrilla forces ended in 2016, creating new, legal economic opportunities was essential to maintaining the peace effort. The cacao industry was identified as a significant opportunity because it offers a legal alternative to the many farmers who grow illicit coca.

Colombia produces a particularly fine grade of cacao (the seeds from which chocolate is made), which is in short supply in world markets.

The Agroemprende Cacao (Agroemprende) project started in April 2019 and is a unique regional initiative undertaken in the Putumayo department in partnership with Gran Tierra Energy, Ecopetrol and the Canadian Embassy in Colombia and implemented by the International Development Cooperation Society (SOCODEVI). GTE has committed over USD$5 million through 2025 to the initiative which supports cacao-growing family enterprises with equipment, seedlings, materials and training.

Agroemprende aims to improve the economic and living conditions of rural families through the production and promotion of cocoa, including through the expansion of the regional cocoa market chain. Ultimately, this project focuses on creating markets of scale for local farmers and will help them get their products to market.

Agroemprende does this through the development of three key areas of the market chain.

  1. The first area is through the strengthening of local farmer cooperative associations, known in Colombia as “local associative enterprises”, in five Putumayo municipalities.  These ground-based producer associations will come together to pool their production and will aggregate purchases, storage, and distribution taking advantage of volume discounts and utilizing other economies of scale.
  2. Second, farmer associations are connected to new collection and purchasing points that are managed by producer associations. These collection centres are located strategically among member farms to receive dried cocoa beans from association members and neighbouring cocoa producers. The centres will not only collect the dried cocoa beans, they will also buy the dried beans directly from the farmers and then sell the gathered volumes to large scale buyers and local markets – replacing the role of intermediaries, who usually profit significantly more than the farmers themselves.
  3. Finally, the Agroemprende program will create one large regional cooperative association that gathers and represents local farmer associations. The regional cooperative association increases access to markets and competitiveness for local farmers. Cocoa crops are negotiated at a larger economy of scale and will have competitive access to national markets.

Project Highlights:

  • 400 families will be directly supported through Agroemprende.
  • In 2022, 310 family-owned cacao farms participated, and over 104,700kg of cacao was produced and commercialized.
  • Beneficiaries are from Puerto Asís, Puerto Caicedo, Mocoa, Villagarzón and Puerto Guzmán.
  • Beneficiaries will also see improved economic opportunities through the establishment of agro-environmental practices, climate-smart agriculture, agroforestry systems, and the implementation of new innovative technologies.
  • The Agroemprende initiative has a specific focus on the empowerment and resilience of women in the cocoa business by developing and strengthening their technical capabilities. It also facilitates female access to land tenure so that they can become direct beneficiaries of existing and upcoming programs.
  • In 2022, Putumayo cacao was sold for the first time ever at the Chocoshow, an international exhibition in the city of Bogotá, changing the narrative that Putumayo cacao could not compete with quality standards from other regions.

With cacao, we are selling more than just a product; we are selling a story of resilient people, forest conservation and rural development for a positive future. More than 40% of development here is linked to the oil and gas industry and we are seeing the positive impacts of their investments coming to fruition as well.


Carmen, a farmer in La Vereda Naranjito, a small town between Villagarzón and Puerto Asís, is a single mother. Carmen lives with her kids, aged 16 and 26, both of whom help her on their farm.

Cacao is the most productive crop for me as it is year-round and offers the benefit of having a ready market. I can sell all of my production as soon as it is ready, which is not the case for my other crops. Since it’s working so well, a number of people in Naranjito have asked me how they too can get into the program.

Cesar, pictured with his wife, is a farmer in Puerto Rosario, who maintains a 15-hectare farm about 20 kilometres outside of Puerto Guzmán.

Cacao is not new for us, but with this training we can significantly increase our yields and income, making cacao a perfect crop for us. In our region coca cultivation has disappeared by at least 80%; much of that is because it has been replaced with crops like cacao. If we can finish the job here and then replicate it across the country, the lives of thousands of people could be changed.

Supporting the Peace Process

At the same time that Gran Tierra is helping local farmers, the Company is supporting the government’s peace process in towns and villages by creating opportunities for demobilized former guerrillas to earn money as they begin to establish productive lives within mainstream Colombian society. One way is by supporting the production of cacao saplings for area farmers who are transitioning to legal crops instead of illegal coca.

Gran Tierra built four irrigated nurseries for the production of cacao plants in Puerto Asís in Putumayo and La Uribe in Meta. Ex-guerrillas are trained to ensure they have technical proficiency working with this new crop. The main role of each nursery is to be a fixed asset that can produce thousands of plants each year, including as many as 160,000 young plantlets. The plants are then cultivated, fortified and delivered to area farmers participating in the program. Technical support and additional training are provided by FEDECACAO, the national association for the cacao industry.

We were skeptical in the beginning, but GTE has remained present, supportive and fulfilled its commitments 100%. We now have fantastic infrastructure to implement the program as well as ongoing technical support and materials, so the program has been a success so far.JESUS ANTONIO MARTINEZ, Representative of Agropal, an agricultural community association

I was a victim of the conflict and was displaced from location to location without  finding a shelter. This program has really changed my situation. This is a very good project because for many people who have grown illegal crops, this is a legal crop that can provide a good alternative.HILARIO TORRES, Farmer, Puerto Asís