Conservation, Generational Renewal & High Quality Chocolate
At Rio Nuevo, we strongly believe that the best stewards of Ecuador’s great forests are the people that already live, work and raise their families there.
With generations of knowledge, expertise and cultural appreciation of the complex, diverse ecosystems that border their small independent farms, our cacao farmers across the Chocó Cloud Forest and Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador are steadfast defenders of the beautiful, irreplaceable regions that they call home.
Mario Guananga, one of our cacao farmers from the Cristobal Colon region in the Cloud Forest of Ecuador is a great example of how empowering cacao farmers in the region, through direct trade relationships, is a powerful tool against deforestation and the negative social impact it brings with it.
Mario has been growing cacao for much longer than many of his neighbours, he owns and operates one of the largest, most well managed sustainable cacao farms in the area without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilisers, saving important habitats for key endangered species in this region and conserving the forest.
As well as this, Mario is a part time national park ranger, who is deeply committed to the health of the forest that surrounds his community. Carefully monitoring the boundary of the nearby Cotacachi Cayapas national park, Mario is on the font lines of his community’s efforts to protect the Chocó Cloud Forest’s ancient woodland against both illegal and large-scale corporate logging interests.
Offering remote communities like Mario’s with new roads and other tempting amenities in return for the right to fell trees across their land, large, well financed logging companies in this region are well practiced at exploiting the often desperate situations of independent small-scale farmers for their own benefit.
We believe that a better, more sustainable future for communities like Mario’s can only be secured by buying cacao directly from the growers and empowering the people who live, work and raise their families in these precious, threatened areas.
By providing small-scale, independent cacao farmers with the means to secure better livelihoods and services for farmers like Mario and their families, we can make a profound difference to the lives of the people who are working on the ground every day to protect Ecuador’s great forests from the insatiable, destructive appetites of multinational corporate interests.
Ethical chocolate not only can taste better, as quality increases when the chocolate supply chain shortens, ethical chocolate companies that take into account the communities and livelihoods of the people who produce cacao have the power to fight deforestation, social inequalities and ultimately poverty.