Agrocalidad indicated that 564 products have organic certification, which provide diverse benefits to the consumer and the environment. Since 2000, the Union of Peasant Cacao Organizations of Ecuador (Unocace) has focused on producing and marketing organic cacao, in grain and with added value, in order to improve the quality of life of its 800 members. Víctor Bajaña, president of Unocace, mentioned that his representative groups around 3,600 hectares of national cocoa with organic certification and Fairtrade.
Bajaña indicates that the organization, made up of 12 groups from Guayas, Los Ríos, El Oro and Bolívar, made its first exports to France between 2001 and 2002. “We ship 170 tons of our organic and good quality grain.” Currently, between the 1,200 and 1,300 tons of cocoa that Unocace buys from farmers, 63% is exported to Switzerland and 32% to the United States and Germany.
With the remaining 5% they make semi-finished cocoa butter, powder and liquor. In addition, they produce chocolate bars that they sell among their members and at fairs. The previous week, the Agency of Regulation and Control Fito and Zoosanitario (Agrocalidad) announced that the country has 564 certified organic products between fresh (190) and processed (374).
He indicated that today around 45,000 hectares are destined for the production of organic foods, which are in the hands of 518 operators that are registered by the entity. Of the 564 products, Ecuador exports from bananas, quinoa, cocoa beans, panela, palm oil, coffee, broccoli, mango, chocolates, chifles, sauces, banana puree, quinoa derivatives to dehydrated fruits. Internally sold kidney tomato, lettuce, carrots, coriander, radishes, quinoa, aromatic herbs, panela, chocolates, coffee, oils, beans, honey, tilapia, shrimp, yogurt, among others.
“These are foods of agricultural origin and get their organic character after meeting specific standards that have a valid certification. They identify themselves in the market with a label that carries the word ‘organic’, ‘ecological’ or ‘biological’. In Ecuador, a code of Agricultural Organic Producer (AOP) is included, granted by Agrocalidad at the time of registration, the entity’s statement said.
Among the benefits of consuming organic food is that it does not affect the environment, nor the health of the producer nor are they contaminated with pesticide residues and have richer and brighter aromas, colors and flavors; They have more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than their conventional counterparts, and others. (I)