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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.


There is a great and direct relationship between the producer and the consumer. Consumers should understand the process of how cocoa is grown and they will then begin to understand the value of quality cocoa. Cocoa farming is hard; it takes a lot of time and investment and consumers should know this!  

Eduardo Almaeda

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

"Thanks to Fair Trade we are able to sell our cacao at fair and stable prices. Before we were organized, many of us did not know how to take true advantage of our plants' capacities and we were ruining them with pesticides and fungicides."  

Mariana del Jesus Mendoza


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.

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.

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.