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In northern province of Ecuador, a delicious deal for cocoa farmers


Ecuador is among the top 10 cocoa-producing nations, growing 6 percent of the world’s supply—and over 70 percent of one of the world’s finest varieties, Cacao Arriba, Nacional or Fino de Aroma. Yet Ecuador’s status on the world cocoa market hasn’t translated to better jobs and incomes for many of its producers. In the coastal province of Esmeraldas, a three-part public private partnership, spearheaded by CARANA, is helping cocoa cooperatives there connect with major buyers and upgrade their product, generating 454 new jobs and higher incomes for more than 600 households.

In Esmeraldas, a deal with a Swiss chocolate company means more jobs and income for cocoa farrmersIn Esmeraldas, a deal with a Swiss chocolate company means more jobs and income for cocoa farrmersUSAID’s Productive Network project formed an alliance with PRONATEC, a Swiss chocolate company whose fair trade model ensures all producers who meet its quality standards receive a price premium of 10-25% above standard market rate. The project and PRONATEC teamed with the local development agency of Esmeraldas—which invested $150,000—to train local cooperatives in business management, deliver technical assistance to improve the cocoa crop, facilitate quality assurance certifications, and re-engineer export logistics so that cocoa can be shipped through the nearby port of Esmeraldas, rather than the main port of Guayaquil, more than 200 miles away.

The deal gives PRONATEC a new supplier and Esmeraldas’ provincial government more institutional capacity to facilitate an attractive business-enabling environment. It also gives cocoa farmers a legal source of income—boosting local resilience to the narcotics trafficking that threatens Esmeraldas from its northern border, shared with Colombia.

Published in February 2012