On Monday night, the VI Cocoa World Summit 2019 was inaugurated at the Convention Center of Guayaquil, with the presence of Mayor Cynthia Viteri, Deputy Mayor Josué Sánchez, regime authorities and representatives of the cocoa producer and exporter sector.
The event, which will last until Wednesday May 22, is organized by the Association of Cacao Producers of Ecuador (Aprocafa), the National Association of Exporters of Cacao and Industrialized of Ecuador (Anecacao) and Expoplaza.
Ricardo Baquerizo, president of Expoplaza, recalled the beginning of the event 7 years ago to indicate what has been progressed so far and the segments in which there is still work to be done.
According to Baquerizo, there are 550 hectares of cocoa production in the country, which generates direct jobs for 120 thousand families, 70% of which are small producers.
In 2018 cocoa production reached 315,000 metric tons and $ 680 million were exported and this year is expected to reach 330 thousand metric tons, said the owner of Expoplaza, who acknowledged that a good job has been done to improve productivity , but that still needs to achieve greater product differentiation, a topic that will be addressed in the technical-scientific congress that will take place in parallel to the summit.
The summit also has a trade fair with 40 stands, innovation zone, producers area, workshops, Pepa de Oro contest, business round, cocoa auction and field day.
Concerning the conference, among the speakers are national and international experts such as: Daniel O’Doherty, president of Cacao Services and expert in the importance of fermentation; Charles Lambot, leader of the Nestlé research program to develop new varieties in a more sustainable way; Donna J. Petersen, focused on cocoa as a superfood and its health benefits; among others.
Francisco Miranda, president of Anecacao, indicated that there is a constant improvement in genetics. “We currently live the best era of Ecuadorian cocoa,” said the representative of the exporters, who said that they must also show the world that Ecuador is a power in sustainability.
He called on the government to “protect” the sector from commercial attacks.
On the other hand, Byron Flores, sub-minister of Agriculture, stressed that Ecuador is the third producer of cocoa in the world and the first of the fine variety of aroma, but also noted that work must be done to improve post-harvest processes and focus on the market of finished products such as chocolate.
According to Flores, there is a market of $ 120 billion waiting. In this sense, Nestlé, one of the exhibitors at the summit, announced the launch of the new Ecuateur chocolate line.
Andrea Paladines, Marketing Manager of the company, said that they have 9 presentations and from June 1 will be available at self-service. He indicated that the goal this year is for the new line to represent 5% of the company’s total sales and for 2020 project to seek to export the product that has several flavors such as almonds, passion fruit, mint, uvilla, roses, red fruits, banana and salt.
Meanwhile, Mayor Viteri announced at the end of the opening event that Guayaquil will have the first cocoa museum. (I)