Barry Callebaut recently laid the foundation for future growth of the cocoa value chain in Ecuador in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art, cocoa facility in Durán.

Upon completion, the site will receive, dry, clean and store cocoa beans and prepare for export to our cocoa and chocolate factories in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. The site will also host our Ecuador offices and herewith be the home for more than 40 employees. This project represents a significant investment in Ecuador and shows our commitment to further develop the value chain of this fast growing cocoa producing country.

"As a global leader in the cocoa and chocolate industry, we are excited about the opportunities associated with Ecuador cocoa bean production as well as its great growth potential. We are proud to continue investing in a country where we have been present since 2007," said Steven Retzlaff, president, Global Cocoa.

"With this state-of-the-art infrastructure, we are making a long term commitment to the country and its cocoa producing sector. Our team is looking forward to moving into the new premises, further developing business relations with existing and new partners and enhancing our sustainability programs with the Ecuadorian cocoa farmers," said Angela Gubser, managing director, Ecuador.

At Barry Callebaut, we have been sourcing cocoa from Ecuador since our foundation in 1996. This cocoa is used in a wide range of our products, including the well-loved and special single origin couvertures Carma Milk Ecuador, Callebaut Origine Ecuador and Cacao Barry Équateur.

Ecuador is well known for the cultivation of "Cacao Nacional", also known as Arriba, a flowery-fruity flavored variety of cocoa. The cultivation of the more recent, highly productive, CCN51 variety has increased significantly in recent years, helping to establish the country as the third largest cocoa producer in the world after Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.