Of $ 760 million that generated shipments of cocoa and derivatives in 2018, only $ 6 million correspond to chocolate. The new policy seeks to reverse this trend. Generate new jobs, increase productivity and exports of the sector, are the objectives that the National Government plans to finalize until 2030, with the Competitive Improvement Plan of Cocoa and its Derivatives.
The initiative was presented on Monday, June 17, at the South Litoral Experimental Station of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (Iniap), located in the Virgen de Fátima parish (Yaguachi).
The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Xavier Lazo, said that the program aims to maintain around 120,000 rural jobs in the producing sector and increase 12,000 in the cocoa agroindustrial. In addition, exports of cocoa beans and their processed and semi-finished products would be doubled, that is, they will go from $ 760 million – reached in 2018 – to more than $ 1,400 million in 2021.
For the execution of the Competitiveness Plan, there will be more than $ 600 millions, which will come from the public and private sectors and from international cooperation funds. “Today we need all the actors of the chain to have wills, commitment and clarity in the objectives that we have set,” said Lazo.
He said that the short-term goals will be to improve the quality of life of 120,000 cocoa families, of which close to 80% are in poverty. In addition, the associativity will be strengthened. Another objective is to convert some 200,000 hectares of other products to cocoa crops, in order to increase productivity, attract foreign investment and position cocoa and chocolate in the foreign market.
“This is how agriculture achieves the real changes that the production sector needs,” said Lazo. This Competitiveness Plan has been working since November 2018 between the Ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Trade, private companies, producers and the European Union.
Vicepresident Otto Sonnenholzner (left) and EU Ambassador Marianne Van Steen accompanied Moreno. Photo: Presidency of the Republic. A public policy To strengthen this initiative, the President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, signed Executive Decree 371 in said event, which elevates this plan to public policy.
He mentioned that through various strategies will seek to build “the new cacao and chocolatier boom of Ecuador.” In this regard, the President urged producers to venture into the manufacture of chocolate, “because we have the best cocoa in the world.”
He stressed that Ecuador is a world power in cocoa production, however, it should aim to be the first, the best; not only as producers, but also as exporters of finished products, such as chocolate. “It is not possible that of the approximately $ 760 million generated by cocoa exports (in 2018), only $ 6 million will be chocolate.
It is illogical, it is a cocoa country, that of every $ 100 exported, less than $ 1 corresponds to chocolates, “said Moreno. For Máximo Carchi, a cocoa producer, this Plan will improve the quality of life of rural families and increase productivity.
“We are an example of this competitive improvement. Nowadays, we have already made our first chocolate bars, we want to grow and with the support of the Government we will achieve it, “he said. While Alfredo Chichande, of the Association of Agricultural Producers La Legia, of Mariscal Sucre, commented that the program is good and interesting.
Therefore indicated that they expect to receive training and technical advice to improve their cultivation and the price of cocoa, which has problems of pests and diseases.
In 2018, 464,546 ha of this product were cultivated, according to the Public Agricultural Information System, which represents 40.9% of the area planted with permanent crops. (I)