Economically, the so-called “primary sector“ is of major importance: forestry, fishing, mining and agriculture are the main occupational areas, wood and in particular gold are the main sources of income.
Especially against the background of the enormous gold deposits the dire poverty of the population in Chocó seems paradoxical. An explanation for this paradox can be found in the legal situation regulations: The mining rights are reserved exclusively for large corporations while gold mining is prohibited for everyone else. The fact that the majority of the population in Chocó nonetheless makes a living from illegal gold digging results in enormous profits especially for trade intermediaries. Quite often guerrilla groups like the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Colombian Revolutionary) or the ELN (National Liberation Army) finance their organizations through the earnings of those underground activities.