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The MIF supports agriculture and tourism in Ecuador through new Cocoa and Chocolate Cultural Trail

Feb 27, 2014

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, has approved a $1 million grant to improve the incomes and quality of life of small cocoa producers and tourism entrepreneurs in the Province of Napo in Ecuador. In partnership with the Fondo Ecuatoriano de Cooperación para el Desarrollo, the project will strengthen the cocoa and tourism value chains by creating a Cocoa and Chocolate Cultural Trail (RCCC for its initials in Spanish) as a strategy for developing economic alternatives and generating incomes for a mostly indigenous population. The investment, based on local public-private collaboration, will benefit 1,000 small cocoa producers and 100 microenterprises and small businesses involved with tourism and agroindustry.

The province of Napo is one of the main points of entry for international tourists who visit Ecuador and want to see the Amazon rainforest. Despite its potential for tourism development, the region is still enmeshed in poverty, with Unmet Basic Needs Indices of over 90%. Due to its unique geographic location, the province is also a principal producer of one of Ecuador’s leading products: fine cocoa, which is prized in international markets for its quality and flavor.

By creating the RCCC local brand, which will be supervised through a public-private cooperation plan, the project will promote collaboration between cocoa producers and tourism entrepreneurs, allowing them to manage agro-tourism activities, cultural gastronomic fairs and other festivals. Additionally, they will work together to define issues involving the trail’s institutional development, such as its mission, vision, business plan, and strategic objectives.

The model will also strengthen links between small producers and other stakeholders in the value chain, such as local export cooperatives. In addition, the participating indigenous groups will be consulted since they have extensive local knowledge and can provide valuable information for the design of products and services.

With an increase in volume and an improvement in the quality of cocoa beans, the project seeks to attain a sustainable increase in the incomes of the beneficiary producers and indigenous communities. At the same time, coordination with the public sector will leverage resources in terms of infrastructure and strategic support for the region. Finally, the strengthening of the tourism sector through its reorganization, training, and the design of joint strategies with the cocoa sector will lead to ongoing work and joint efforts on behalf of the organizations once the project has concluded.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at

About the Fondo Ecuatoriano de Cooperación para el Desarrollo

The Fondo Ecuatoriano de Cooperación para el Desarrollo (FECD) is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to improve in a sustainable manner the living conditions of the most vulnerable groups in Ecuador, through integrated development proposals. FECD was established in 2005 with the support of the Fondo Ecuatoriano Canadiense de Desarrollo and since then it has worked with around 180,000 families on issues related to agriculture, tourism, conflict resolution, and environmental and gender projects with international donors such as the United States Agency for International Development, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Dutch embassy, and the United Nations Development Programme, among others.

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