Cocoa producers …
… the community of “tesoro escondido”
This rather isolated community consists of about 50 families in the Choco-region (a savage forest region on the northern coast). The ecuadorian NGO Proyecto Washu in cooperation with the Sussex university in the UK is working in the area since 2011 within the framework of a conservation project. This project aims at conserving the remaining parts of the primary tropical rainforest and thus the habitat of endemic primate species, the brown headed spider monkey.
Through the commercialisation of the cocoa grown in the community within the project framework new income source are created without destructing the forest cover.
Bouga CacaO has been contacted by the project staff in late 2013; in the course of 2014 we were able to establish a base for cooperation and in the end of 2014 we were able to buy the first cocoa beans from the community. The quality control and related training workshops were set up by our year-long partner Samuel from the Hacienda Bosque de Oro (see below).
The next steps consist in strengthening the local organisation within the community as well as our cooperation. In 2015 we obtained organic certification for the first 5 families. An intern from the ENSAT (National agricultural university Toulouse) assisted in this effort in the course of 2015.
Under the following link you can watch a short video documenting the aerial image collection by a drone for the cartographic data base of the project and monitoring purposes.
… the cooperative Fortaleza del Valle
… was founded in 2006 by merging 4 already successfully working farmers’ associations and consists of more than 600 families. The well organised cooperative commercialises high quality Nacional Arriba cacao and is certified organic (EU standard) and disposes also of a fairtrade certification by Flo-Cert.
….Oliva Ortíz and Manuel Zavala and the SELVA DORADA project
The former members of the APPOS, the association with which we were cooperating until 2012, have dedicated themselves to the production of high quality cocoa. They have been our first contacts in the ecuadorian cocoa world while Ulrike was still working in a international cooperation project.
In their fincas they produce not only cocoa but also sugar cane, bananas, fruits and other in sustainable mixed cultures without the use of pesicides or chemical fertilizer – organic production.
In the beginning there was the marketing of raw cocoa to intermediaries who did not really value the good cocoa quality so they were looking for alternatives and this is actually when we met and got carried away by their enthusiasm.
Manuel’s finca was the first to get organic certification in 2013 as well as the Ecocert ESR fairtrade label for our commercial relation. In 2014 the finca of Oliva followed.
The production of finished goods based on their cocoa for the local market has been also a priority for a long time for Oliva and Manuel. This project is quite successfull to the extent that more and more cocoa from theit fincas are used for these products. Even though there is still some cocoa left for the couverture production for Bouga CacaO, this might change in the future. However, the locally added value has always been the main objective of Bouga CacaO and thus we are very pleased with this success.
The following links leads to a document that gives all details on our cooperation with “selva dorada”, especially the financial aspects : Filiere selva dorada.pdf
… Hacienda Bosque de Oro
In the traditionally cocoa region around Quevedo we find the Hacienda Bosque de Oro whichtranlates into “golden forest”. The climatic conditions are ideal for cocoa growing and the dedicated staff does all to succeed in the production of the ultimate Nacional Arriba cocoa beans as a base for high-class chocolates.
A lot of time and investment was put into field research to find the most promising varieties and optimal growing concepts. The biggest and most innovative step was thus the developement of an adapted fermentation method; this fermentation method and the following sun-drying of the cocoa beans are permanently controlled and give the base for our highly appreciated 100% Hacienda bars.
For the transformation of the cocoa of our partners into coverture we have a new partner organisation; the community based project “El Salinerito” in Salinas, close to Guaranda in the Andes.
… or more correctly the Panela used for couverture production is supplied by the association MCCH (see their spanish site).