Ecuadorian cocoa growers see big profits as prices soar to record levels

Mar 28, 2024 | 0 comments

With the international price of cocoa beans hitting all-time highs, Ecuadorian producers are poised to reap big profits. On Tuesday, the price of a metric ton of cocoa reached $9,622, a 300% increase from 12 months ago.

A farmworker harvests cocoa beans at a plantation in El Oro Province.

According to industry experts, the price surge is the result of bad weather and crop disease in west Africa, where most cocoa is grown. Of the world’s top five cocoa exporters, Ecuador is the only non-African producer, ranking fourth behind Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon.

Merlyn Casanova, executive director of the Ecuador Association of Cocoa Exporters, says growers will see “huge benefits” in the short term but should understand that current prices will not continue. “We are benefiting from the misfortunate of African growers but this is based on one- and two-year circumstances,” she said. “These prices cannot be counted on in the future.”

According to Casanova, Ecuadorian producers will see even bigger profits from the fact that local cocoa beans are considered of higher quality than those grown in Africa. “For many years, our beans have been the most preferred by the European chocolate industry,” she says. “This will not change, no matter the international market conditions.”

As they benefit from the recent price surge, Casanova says Ecuadorian growers must focus on European Union import requirements that take effect in 2025. “The EU is imposing strict labor and environmental rules related to cocoa and other agricultural imports, and growers must make sure they are in compliance,” she says.

“We are in a better situation to meet the requirements since some African growers have been accused of abusing workers, even using slave labor,” she says. “We must also be prepared to show data proving that we are not committing acts of deforestation to increase our crop areas.”


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