Cocoa farming is labor intensive. Many smallholder farmers grow cocoa in much the same way as their parents and grandparents did. Many lack access to reliable information and advice on how to improve their farms, and cannot afford new planting materials and other inputs. El Rey is uniquely positioned to help improve the lives of cocoa farmers in ways that are mutually rewarding and beneficial.
Through our training programs we partner up with cocoa farmers directly to introduce good agriculture practices and post-harvest techniques, in order to achieve higher yields and improve the quality of our cocoa beans. This in turn brings higher incomes and better standards of living to our farmers and their families. We not only guarantee our farmers a fair price but we also pay them directly and 60% above market price.
For many years we have been training farmers in better farming practices such as weeding, pruning, reducing losses from pests and disease and establishing good fermentation and drying processes to nurture the inherent flavors of the cocoa beans. We strongly believe that training farmers successfully is key to building a sustainable cacao chain as well as helping increase farmers' incomes and supporting the future growth of cocoa farming.
We strongly believe cocoa farmers and their families will benefit
directly from higher yields, that is why we’ve made direct investments
in building tree nurseries and centers that help improve production and
The seeds planted in our nurseries come from trees that not only produce high yields but have also proven to have a strong resistance to disease.
We’re teaming up with Conindustria, the European Union, and Venezuela Competitiva to transform cacao farmers into micro-entrepreneurs. Through a rigidly designed 4-month training session focusing on agriculture, microeconomics and macroeconomics we hope to give farmers the tools they need in order to succeed. We highly prioritize these development projects to benefit farmers around the sustainability principles of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress.
We have adapted some of our initial performance targets to better match the capacities of our farmers and the realities in the field. While some cooperatives have demonstrated continuous improvement, others have struggled to reach targets.
Many cooperatives need financing assistance before and during the crop season to support their farmer members and for operational purposes. El Rey not only offers of interest-free loans. but also hands out cutting saws, fermentation boxes as well as other gear.