Cocoa from Ecuador: from monoculture to mixed cultivation.

How did this project come about?

Despite a long tradition of cocoa cultivation in Ecuador, the practice is barely worth the effort nowadays. This is due to the problematic cultivation methods in monocultures. They displace food crops, erode the soil and make plants more vulnerable to disease, which results in annual crop failure rates of up to 40 per cent. In their plight, farming families clear areas of intact rainforest. The FINCA project was launched in 2016 to counteract this alarming development. Alongside HALBA, it involves the farmers’ organisation Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas Cacaoteras (UNOCACE), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Ecotop, Southpole and WWF Switzerland.

What does the project do?

FINCA supports the sustainable cultivation of cocoa through dynamic agroforestry (DAF) and combines this with CO₂e offsetting measures certified to the Gold Standard. Through the cultivation of fruit trees and annual food crops, the project contributes to food security and helps the farmers minimise their risk. Currently, 654 UNOCACE cocoa farmers are tending their plots in DAF conditions. UNOCACE employs 23 technicians and three coordinators who have received intensive training within the scope of the project and now educate other local farmers.


The project also seeks to furnish young locals with agricultural expertise and strengthen the local organisation UNOCACE so that it will be able to take ownership of the project in the long term.