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Co-op Name: Oro Verde
Number of Producers: 1,350
Average Farm Size: 2.5 hectares
Source for: Chocolate chips, dark hot chocolate
Interesting Fact: Over two-thirds of members of Oro Verde are part of the Chanca Lamista indigenous group.
Full Profile: “Like Equal Exchange, we want to improve the lives of our small farmer members,” said Hildebrando Cárdenas Salazar, general manager of Oro Verde. The co-op was founded in 1999 with 56 members, and now there are over 1,300 members. “Farmers realize the benefits of being part of the co-op,” Hildebrando said. “There are advantages that intermediaries can’t provide, especially around technical assistance.”
Additionally, the farmers that belong to the co-op have seen higher prices as a result of working together. According to Hildebrando, “co-ops have more power to negotiate prices with buyers, which has resulted in higher prices for producers.” There are also programs that benefit the whole community, such as scholarships for children of producers and women’s groups.
Oro Verde is currently working diligently to identify high quality, productive and disease-resistant cacao trees to build up an elite tree nursery program allowing them to provide their farmers with improved varieties for the future. This includes a reforestation project that involves planting two million trees to help the co-op achieve zero carbon footprint.
For more information about Oro Verde, download the Oro Verde co-op profile (in pdf format).