Increasing productivity and quality of fine flavour cacao (FINCA)

Ecuadorean fine flavor cocoa is increasingly recognized as the highest quality of cocoa in the world. Its Arriba cocoa beans, referred to locally as "de Arriba" or "up", have distinct floral and fruity flavors providing Ecuadorean producers an unique opportunity to take advantage of its higher market value in global markets. The growth trend is driven by consumer demand for gourmet food, organic and natural products which can best be derived from this type of cocoa and its sub products.

Given the market opportunities, it is increasingly important to support the expansion of the Arriba "Cacao Nacional" (CNA) varieties. This calls for reversing the trend toward the almost shade-less monoculture CCN51 variety. Virtually no upkeep measures such as pruning are done to CNA variety; as a result, trees grow quite tall, are very old and the cocoa bean yield is extremely low. Cocoa cultivation is therefore in many places barely profitable. These conditions are not attractive for young people to work in this sector.

The Project

The production under a dynamic agroforestry approach can increase significantly the productivity of their cocoa plantations. Training and a longer conceived consultancy to the producers are needed, resulting in the medium term to an increase in income.

The Arriba and other CNA varieties would thus be more attractive and potentially more profitable to producer families. The objective of the project is to "Improve the quality of life of 800 cocoa producers, through a dynamic agroforestry approach with cocoa as a valid and effective option to increase income and revitalize the national cocoa "Arriba" production".

In order to achieve the proposed objective, it is planned to consider the following criteria:

  • Establishment of a counselling program under the Cooperative UNOCACE to promote the cultivation of Cacao Nacional "Arriba".
  • Work with a systemic approach, which considers sustainability, impact, outreach and the achievement of an increment of actors and functions starting from a defined territorial approach, promoting the economic development through strengthening and articulating both private and public actors.
  • Promote the empowerment of UNOCACE and its organisations, supporting development processes that promote their active and permanent participation - improvement of governance through the development of capacities.
  • Support improvements in the performance of small producers, facilitating access to financial services, non-financial services and productive infrastructure in order to generate income and employment.


The project aims to reduce poverty and to improve the quality of life of cocoa producers and their families, improving their income through an increase in productivity of their cocoa and through a diversification in the production with a dynamic agroforestry approach.

The main objective of the intervention is to contribute to poverty reduction in the cocoa production, focusing on diversification and alternative production methods together with producers in order to have more options and access to market with the benefits of equity and sustainability. To do this we aim to reach 800 cocoa producers, members of UNOCACE, interested in improving their production of fine flavour cocoa, called "cacao fino de aroma Arriba", in association with forest and fruit plants. To this end, the project aims to improve the performance and capacities of promoters, producers and the organisation UNOCACE in order to be sustainable.

The beneficiaries of the project FINCA are 800 cocoa producers, men and women living in poverty.

Project countries

  • Ecuador

Project duration

2017 - 2020


  • SDC
  • Chocolats Halba

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97