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Asociación de Campesinos de la Vereda Palmas-Asociación de Productores de Cacao y Derivados (ASOPROMAS)

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Public Statement 2014

Title Strengthening the Production, Processing, and Marketing of Cacao Grown by Farmers in the Province of Zamora Chinchipe
Type of organization Grassroots organization/enterprise
Country Ecuador
Duration  Three years
IAF Funding   $70,050
Counterpart Committed $316,560 ($63,900 in cash and $252,660 in kind)
Number of direct &
indirect beneficiaries
Direct: 100
Indirect: 200
Primary program areas Agriculture/Enterprise development

Organizational background:
ASOPROMAS was founded in 2001 as Asociación de Trabajadores Autónomos Playas de Cuje and was registered under its current name with the Superintendencia de Economía Popular y Solidaria in 2013. Its farmer-members produce cacao that they process into paste for sale to customers in the nearby city of Loja and a client in the Galapagos. In 2013, ASOPROMAS acquired processing machinery to replace very rudimentary equipment.

ASOPROMAS’ general assembly, composed of 50 members, meets every two months. An administrator oversees the daily operations of the departments of administration and finance, organic production, processing, marketing and quality control. ASOPROMAS has received technical assistance, equipment and materials from the Fondo Ecuatoriano Popular Progresivo (FEPP), the municipal government of Centinela de El Cóndor and from the provincial government of Zamora Chinchipe.

Project Objective:
To improve the production of member-farmers as well as their ability to process cacao and market fine chocolates.

ASOPROMAS will work in Playas de Cuye in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, to improve its members’ production of cacao, industrialize its processing of candies, cultivate new markets and develop as an organization. The project should benefit 100 Ecuadoreans directly and another 200 indirectly.

Rationale for funding:
ASOPROMAS’ leadership is drawn from educated young adults who have returned to live in their communities of origin motivated by the prospect of self-employment that might allow them to earn income sufficient to remain on land belonging to their families. They worry about harm to the environment that traditional agricultural practices might cause and are beginning to replace them with “agro-ecological” methods of farming. Processing cacao offers this small community a future. Ecuador’s Solidarity Economy Law, enacted in 2011, allowed ASOPROMAS, which was originally constituted as community association, to become a community-managed business. ASOPROMAS participates in the “solidarity economy” by committing to fair prices for producers and consumers and to reinvesting profits to benefit the community. It will be interesting to follow how this process may influence business practices.

Learning Opportunity:
This project should show how traditional knowledge and new technologies impact agricultural practices.