Actualidad Colombia

Zones of Rural, Economic, and Social Interest (ZIDRES)

Bill 223-C/2015, with implementing measures for ZIDRES

The Colombian Congress is studying the possibility of creating Zones of Interest for Rural, Economic and Social Development (ZIDRES, to use their Spanish acronym). In general, ZIDRES are:

  • Territories that can be used for farming.
  • Located within Colombia.
  • Isolated from the larger towns.
  • Have specific characteristics that impose high costs on making them productive.
  • Have low population density and high poverty indices.
  • Lack minimum infrastructure for transport and sale of produce.
  • Are not suitable for family production units to encourage productive projects benefiting landless agrarian workers and promoting capital investment in farming businesses.

On being declared ZIDRES, the territories will be considered of public utility and general interest, and the following goals will be pursued:

  • Promote the social inclusion of agrarian workers as productive social agents.
  • Increase sustainable productivity of the land.
  • Promote social and economic development in the zone.
  • Improve the quality of the land for farming.
  • Incentivise conservation of the environment.
  • Promote access and regularisation of the agrarian workers ownership rights to the land.
  • Promote rural employment and food safety.
  • Create special lines of credit and action plans to raise bank funding for productive projects for enterprises and for capitalisation.

This last point is of special importance, since microfinance entities have is a sales network especially targeted at potential markets in territories where there is little access to traditional banks. The challenge for such entities, then, will be to design products for entrepreneurs wishing to do business in these newly declared zones of special interest in Colombia.