Producer Profiles

Fortaleza del Valle

Fortaleza del Valle, is a cooperative of small farmers located in Calceta, Ecuador. They have been working together since 2005 to improve their farming techniques in order to improve quality and expand market opportunities. The Fair Trade premium has enabled the cooperative to invest in infrastructure, processing equipment and pre-harvest financing for members.
 

Quotable

The zero interest credit provided by the coop is essential to help me take care of the farm in the months that we are not able to earn money from selling cocoa. For farmers like me with no other source of income, a little money more money makes a huge difference for me and my family.  

Francisco Mendoza Ostaiza

Fair Trade has helped us to organize, and incentivized us to collectivize and try to receive a better price for our cocoa. love the democratic aspect of Fair Trade -- you have to accept the decisions of the majority, but I appreciate that I have a say in that decision.  

Eduardo Almaeda

"I want everyone to know and feel the beauty of cacao and its traditions. It is my heritage that I want to pass on to my children, one that has given me a way of life."  

Guadalupe Intriago Mera

Programs

Dryers to Maintain Cocoa Quality

The cooperative has used Fair Trade premium to purchase sophisticated dryers with racks to protect cocoa from rain. Keeping the cocoa dry with these dryers ensures that the cocoa does not get destroyed by mold and ensures a high quality cocoa bean for farmers to sell.

Nursery for New High-Quality Plants

Fortaleza del Valle uses the fair trade premium to to create a plant nursery with high quality "Nacional Fina de Aroma" plants. The plants can be bought by producers at low prices, and the producers can then sell this high-quality cocoa at a premium.

Loans to Cooperative Members

Fortaleza del Valle uses Fair Trade premium dollars to provide zero-interest loans to its members. The producers use this money to improve their farms and to pay for basic necessities during the non-harvest period when there is no money coming in to producers pockets.