In Latin America and the Caribbean, 106 Fairtrade certified organizations are dedicated to the production of traditional and organic cocoa in 10 countries (Peru, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Honduras and Grenada). Currently, 96% of Fairtrade organic cocoa comes from the region.
For the small producers of cocoa of the Fortaleza del Valle Corporation in Ecuador, Fairtrade allows them to improve their production and quality of cocoa thanks to an advance they receive from the Fairtrade premium, which includes delivery of organic fertilizer. The organization has also invested in supporting members to carry out pruning to increase productivity and also in rehabilitating orchards.
“For me, the word and concept that best explains what Fairtarde is, is equity, because Fairtrade is equity, equity for the producer who owns less land compared to the one who has more, the benefits are now equally for both. and, if they did not exist, small producers would be at a disadvantage,” said José Santiago Zambrano Mendoza, member of the Fortaleza del Valle corporation.
“The best way to maintain the quality of our cocoa is for us to preserve the tradition of 100 percent organic. We sell fine aroma cocoa that is very good and is a benefit for the families of the producers,” said Zambrano, adding that it is important that farmers receive constant training to improve their production.
For her part, Jessica Granillo, member of the corporation, added that it is important to take women into account, since they can exercise their leadership on the farms.
“Usually in the countryside, women are secondary and the one who manages the farm is the man… Now women are gaining momentum, but there is still a long way to go. On the other hand, most of our members are older adults and few farms are addressing the issue of generational change. We are driving that transformation. Women are only 25% of the partners,” said the young woman, who runs her family farm and studies at the university. “One day we would like to be technicians, have the support to get a diploma and be able to provide our services to other people and also be able to train other women,” she added.
For its part, the Cooperativa Agroindustrial Tocache Ltda, in Peru, has been able to build and improve the Shapaja Collection Center thanks to the investment of the Fairtrade premium, benefiting 109 producer families in the area. These facilities have allowed them to guarantee good management of cocoa fermentation, drying and storage processes to improve quality.
Lithman Cachique Sangama, remembers that in 2018 when he joined the cooperative, the drying ware was made of earth. “My work doubled because it rained and the grain got wet. Fairtrade supported us with this crockery, for me it was a relief. Thanks to that there was less work and also less effort in terms of stockpiling”, he stated. “We have good quality, thanks to Fairtrade, which invests in infrastructure for the development of grain storage,” he added.
In addition, the cooperative has invested in the construction of a biofactory and a collection center in Fundo Edén and in the construction and implementation of a chocolate processing plant, projects that have benefited the 514 associated families.
The biofactory produces organic fertilizers, mineral broths, natural pesticides and all kinds of bio-inputs for the management and improvement of the productive yield of cocoa, reducing costs and the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides.
“Thanks to Fairtrade and the Premium we have, we are building this biofactory, because with this we would not be leaving our members without supplies,” said Lisbet Paredes Salas, head of marketing for the cooperative.
The benefits of Fairtrade for cocoa organizations are many and make the harvest sweeter for small farmers.