Transmar Ecuador has been a forerunner within Transmar Group in its pursuit of sustainability initiatives at the grass roots level with a strong up-country presence and close working ties with farmers. Our Ecuador efforts focus on three key areas:
- Social – Enhancing our farmers’ abilities to increase income and improve education
- Environmental – Protecting biodiversity, establishing proper waste disposal processes and reducing our carbon footprint
- Commercial – Guaranteeing quality and transparency throughout the supply chain
In 2006, we formalized our efforts in these areas with the creation of our Project DREAM program, which now serves as our customized program fulfilling the sustainability or quality requirements of our customers.
Project DREAM stands for “Developing and Rehabilitating the Existing Agricultural Methodology” and has dual goals of improving farm livelihoods and preserving the quality of the Arriba Nacional bean, which has been in decline due to poor harvests and dilution with the CCN-51 bean. Project DREAM pursues a wide variety of initiatives:
In partnership with the Ecuadorian Government’s Inclusive Rural Business Program and ACDI-VOCA, we are assessing small Arriba Nacional farms and developing rehabilitation programs that can lead to increases of up to 300% in productivity. We also work with Agripac, the leading agricultural supply company in Ecuador, to conduct productivity enhancement workshops at demonstration parcels.
We are working with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGAP) and the Agricultural Research Institute (INIAP) to promote and enable the planting of high yielding Arriba Nacional clones. In particular, we have provided financial backing for INIAP’s construction of a sales office at their Arriba Nacional sampling nursery as well as training for its staff.
Through Project DREAM, we have created an electronic system allowing us to catalog data on each bean shipment, tracing back to the individual farms of origin. This level of transparency throughout the cocoa supply chain is a unique option that we offer to all of our customers.
To improve our farmers’ incomes and assure optimal traceability, we work directly with the farmers to negotiate the purchase of beans. This elimination of layers of middlemen assures that the farmer receives the highest market value based on accurate weight. We have also worked with farmers to establish bank account credit lines that provide them with financial assistance in building their businesses.
Ensuring Cocoa Quality
Through Project DREAM, we offer our customers the option of buying cocoa in pods to prevent mixing as well as control post-harvest fermentation and drying. This allows us to customize the flavor profile to exactly match a recipe.
In answer to marketplace demands, we are prioritizing our efforts to supply certified sustainably sourced cocoa. We are working with farmers to meet the stringent qualifications for organic, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification. These efforts benefit our farmers through improvements in near-term productivity and long-term sustainability, as well as protecting their communities from environmental degradation.