Recent news in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, where the spread of the virus is overwhelming public services and pushing the city to a point of collapse, is not far from the farms we have sourced cocoa from for the last 8 years. It is a startling reminder that our partners in South America lack the infrastructure and resources to fight this alone in such a quickly changing environment.
Alter Eco sources the Fair Trade & Organic cocoa used in the majority of our Dark Chocolate Bars & Truffles from small-scale farmers in this region, through UNOCACE cooperative.
UNOCACE has taken initiative to apply Fair Trade premiums they receive for the cocoa they sell to cover food security for the farmers and their families. They have also begun to set up trades and exchanges of different produce between regions and organized subsidies that will lower costs to make basic needs accessible.
Alter Eco has already sent funds to cover supplies like soaps, gloves, and masks, although additional money is needed to purchase building materials for sanitation stations, sinks and checkpoints as a long-term solution. With a window of only 15 days harvest time, putting these important measures in place to keep everyone safe is key in protecting the farmers livelihoods.
Although our partners in Ecuador have the most urgent needs as we write this, our farmer partners in Peru and the Dominican Republic are also at risk and struggling with the effects of COVID-19.
Our Peruvian and Dominican Republic partner co-ops are made up of 2,000-3,000 farmers and families. They have communicated both basic products including food (rice, sugar, oil, tuna, sardines, noodles, coffee) and sanitary supplies (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves) are the priority for distribution to its most vulnerable members. These 'family kits' will be assembled by the co-op with a combination of funds from this fundraiser and Fair Trade premiums.
1 kit costs $30
$7,500 can purchase 250 family kits
$450 buys 3,000 gloves
$1,820 buys 100 gallons of sanitizer
$2,730 buys 3,000 masks
These farmers are the lifeblood of our company and we are hoping our community of friends, families, customers and loyal chocolate lovers will help us raise the money they need to weather these unprecedented times.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 through GoFundMe and to make our donation of $5,500 go even further in helping protect our farmers from COVID-19.
Although this doesn’t meet the entire need to implement all the necessary sanitation for the 24,300 farmers we source from, it’s a step towards relieving immediate needs. And small steps make big changes.
Thank you and we really appreciate your support!
The team at Alter Eco
Photographs of UNOCACE receiving & preparing the first shipment of food supplies for distribution as a result of their organized food subsidies and exchanges between regions. These shipments were provided by using Fair Trade premium funds.
Watch a short video of the regenerative work we are supporting with our cocoa farmer partners in Ecuador. They not only grow cocoa, they are helping restore forests and ecosystems through farming.
Photos of our partners at UNOCACE when some of the team visited last year.
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