Ecuador’s rainy season, which usually lasts from January through to April, can negatively affect the post-harvest treatment and the quality of the cocoa beans. This means that farmers have a less reliable source of income for at least those four months.
As a trial to help the farmers supply and charge for a more consistent product throughout the year, Nestlé has delivered innovative solar dryers to 30 Cocoa Plan farmers in Manabí province, in the west of Ecuador, in 2017. To successfully implement the delivery, the cocoa farmers were trained on how to build and use the solar dryers – so-called marquesinas – to dry their cocoa effectively. The goal of the project is that the 30 farmers set an example within their communities and show others how solar dryers can help.
The incomes of families using marquesinas has increased significantly. Their cocoa has a higher quality, and they have access to better prices and premiums.