Need Analysis to promote the sustainability of small cocoa producer communities in Ecuador

Title Need Analysis of the sustainability of the communities of small cocoa producers in Ecuador

Location Manabì Province, Ecuador

Duration January-March 2020


Cocoa and its sector represent one of Ecuador’s fundamental traditional economies. According to INEC data, cocoa employs approximately 5% of the national economically active population and 15% of the rural population. Cocoa production represents 7.8% of the country’s agricultural GDP, or 0.5% of total GDP, and 70% is made by small producers, the rest is divided between medium and large enterprises.

Over the years, the sector has undergone a progressive transition to export, with a trend that testifies to a considerable increase. In 2006, Ecuador exported 110,157 tons of cocoa, while in 2018 exports increased to 315,571 tons with an increase of 274%. The Province of Manabì is one of the 3 main cocoa production provinces. The production of the Manabì, Los Ryos and Guayas areas represents 61.3% of the national output.

In 2019, there were 107 cocoa exporters with an increasing presence of multinationals that have gradually assumed a primary role. The first 3-4 large exporters control a majority share of trade and establish the price of goods, complicating the work of small exporting companies.

General Objective

For the Need Analysis, the researchers collected and analyzed the needs related to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of small producers belonging to the communities identified as potential beneficiaries of future development projects.


Our contribution

Through a local development perspective based on the priorities and specific needs indicated by local stakeholders and by the beneficiaries themselves, the study focused in particular on the following specific objectives:

Understand the national context of the cocoa sector and the functioning of the value chain.
Understand the functioning of the cocoa supply chain of the Maquita Foundation, including the main relationships between local actors and the needs of small farmers and their communities;
Explore the main causes that undermine the sustainability of cocoa production, evaluating the possible areas of intervention;
Identify and suggest potential future development initiatives and proposals based on a proactive involvement of small farmers and communities

The Need Analysis was carried out thanks to a qualitative and quantitative desk analysis, individual and collective semi-structured interviews, open focus groups with the main stakeholders and workers in the supply chain conducted during the field mission carried out between January and February 2020.

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