Barry Callebaut: Supporting Ecuadorian Cocoa Farmers to Sustainably Increase Cocoa Yields

In this interview, Angela Gubser, Managing Director, Barry Callebaut Ecuador, describes how Cocoa Horizons has been successfully introduced to the world’s third largest producer of cocoa.

It might be surprising to some people that Ecuador is the third largest producer of cocoa behind Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Can you provide an overview of what cocoa farming actually looks like in Ecuador?

The picture of Ecuadorian cocoa farming is often portrayed with large, highly mechanized farms, however, the reality is that around 95% of cocoa farms are small to medium sized, family owned farms. To put this into context, a large farm is over 100 hectares, but in fact, the average size of a cocoa farm here is approximately 5 hectares. The average cocoa yield in Ecuador is higher than what we see on West African cocoa farms, and I am often asked why this is the case? Firstly, the main variety of cocoa grown here is different and produces a higher yield. Secondly, in general Ecuador is blessed with very good soil quality. My background is trading, I am certainly not an agronomist, nor do I have a particularly green finger, but everything in my garden here grows without much attention to its well being!