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We keep it simple by sourcing our cacao beans directly from small scale farmers in Ecuador and paying them a fair price so that you don’t have to worry about being misled by different promises of ethical sourcing.

Around 100,000 families in Ecuador depend on cacao farming for their livelihoods and in the conventional trade cacao passes through many hands. In this long supply chain traceability is lost and the farmer receives a very small share of the final price.

There is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to sourcing cacao from Ecuador. There isn’t a formal cacao classification system in place and the lack of transparency in the supply chain makes it very difficult to work out the logistics of buying Arriba Nacional cacao, which is an ancient variety that is in danger of disappearing.

We chose to work directly with cacao farmers, and shorten the supply chain so that the chocolate you buy can really make a difference in their lives.

Building relationships is at the core of our business, and our famers are at the heart of what we do. Having direct trade relationships with our cacao farmers is the basis and main component of our success.



The term is often used broadly but a true Direct Trade relationship involves the chocolate maker buying the beans directly from the farmers and cutting out the middleman.

In our Direct Trade model we agree the price directly with farmers ensuring 100% transparency and traceability meaning the price agreed goes straight into the farmers hands.​

But we believe fair pricing is just one component of good cacao sourcing. Our Direct Trade approach involves investing in rural communities over the long term to improve both the quality of cacao beans and the livelihoods of the people.

For Rio Nuevo Chocolate, Direct Trade encompasses our vision of working towards improving the livelihoods of the farmers and their productivity, creating a more sustainable independent life for the farmers and their families. One where they will have more control over community development and the opportunity to build a better future. This promise benefits everyone.


We pay our cacao farmers between $3,880 and $4,000 per metric tonne of cacao and the Fair Trade price is $2,400 per metric tonne. This means we pay between 62% and 67% above Fair Trade prices for cacao beans alone.

Lifting cacao farmers out of poverty and changing the world through chocolate continues to be our most important drive.

Our vision has always been to empower and improve the livelihoods of our farmers. Along with this work we have taken a step further in breaking the systemic inequality of global chocolate production.

At the beginning of 2021 we decided to move the production of chocolate to Ecuador, meaning the farmers add value to their product at origin and keep more revenue in their local economy, providing more employment and developing new skills.

It’s estimated that less than 5% of the world’s chocolate is produced in the same country the cacao is grown. Normally, much of the value of cacao is exported along with it when chocolate is made in Europe and North America.

Our dream is to raise the bar and see a real change in how the chocolate industry can help develop sustainable livelihoods for cacao farming communities. By making the chocolate at origin in addition to growing the cacao in there, the farmers are generating 65% more income, creating and improving opportunities for locals and strengthening their local economies.

The cacao sourcing philosophy we adhere to is more than just paying a fair price for the beans. By making chocolate in Ecuador, we have directly contributed to the creation of jobs at origin. Simultaneously, we have improved the capacity for producing food-safe and high quality chocolate in the producing country, Ecuador.



13 small indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest region of Napo, Ecuador have come together creating a solidarity economy system that allows them to improve their economic prospects in a very sustainable way. 


The cacao produced by these communities has been done so in the traditional kichwa forest garden method. This approach seeks to preserve biodiversity and natural resources.


By converting the cacao into chocolate themselves in their community the farmers are adding value to their product at origin, expanding their skills and economic prospects as they are able to command a higher price for their semi-finished product. 

Amazon Rainforest Indigenous Woman


We’ve partnered with  a group of cacao farmers in the Cloud Forest of Ecuador to enable them to protect the Ecuadorian Choco; one of the last remaining  Cloud Forests in the world.

The farmers grow Arriba Nacional cacao as part of a biodiversity conservation effort to protect their forest, and are committed to the reforestation  and conservation of their environment. 

Cloud Forest Ecuador
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