Ecuadorian coffee - adding flavour to the national economy

Ecuadorian coffee - adding flavour to the national economy

Coffee is one of the products of the Ecuadorian economy that benefits rural families.
This project is part of the following focus area:

Even though coffee is one of the oldest crops in the region, Ecuador is only beginning to give more importance to it. Today, coffee has become one of the goods that is being pushed into the market.

With the latest trends in coffee consumption and the Ecuadorian production potential that allows the diversification of coffee to be commercialised, the country is promoting coffee production to be able to bring it to national and international markets.

Thanks to the country's geographical location, Ecuadorian coffee has excellent production conditions: the country’s exports have grown by 6% since 2016. This is part of the total increase in external sales of industrialised coffee, including the sales in Ecuador, which have a growth rate of 10%.

In Ecuador, about 115,000 families of small farmers grow coffee, on around 96,312 hectares of land. The total percentage of Arabica coffee cultivated is 68%, but not all producers have the capacity to offer specialty coffee on the market. In addition, coffee farmers are not always applying adequate production and post-harvest methods; training in these aspects needs to be integrated into the production value chains to facilitate the professionalisation of coffee producer organisations. 1

For Ecuador, coffee is an important agricultural export good, of which 68% was represented by Arabica coffee, which is cultivated by 85% of coffee growers. Rikolto recognises the great openness and potential that exists in the country, both in its producers and in its biodiversity. Therefore, Rikolto wishes the farmers’ organisations AACRI, AAPROCNOP and RAPCI to integrate the improvement of their quality of life and organisational sustainability into their organisational goals.

Rikolto’s work focuses on the professionalisation of organisations, integrating them into the market thanks to their quality coffee and providing them with sustainability opportunities by integrating young people into their activities. All the actions are aimed at strengthening farmers and their families.

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The Agricultural Artisan Association of Coffee Growers by the Intag River is an organisation dedicated to the cultivation of organic high-altitude coffee, grown under agroforestry systems. AACRI thereby wishes to achieve healthy, environmentally friendly production. Intag River Coffee is an export coffee with international certifications of recognition for its aroma, concentration, and especially flavour.

AACRI is situated in the Province of Imbabura, in the cantons of Cotacachi and Otavalo. AACRI started out in 1998 as a productive, economical, and sustainable alternative to mining exploitation. It currently integrates around 215 families in the Intag area, who, through the production and commercialisation of organic coffee, have improved their income, their health, and their work conditions. The quality of life in the Rio Intag Valley is clearly changing.

More than 19 years have passed since AACRI began to promote action and develop projects for organisational strengthening, modernisation and certification of coffee, and managing the commercialising. Along this journey, AACRI has strengthened ties of cooperation, alliances, and friendships which have made it possible to face the limitations of the small producer and achieve positive results. Undoubtedly, this journey has provided experiences, lessons and learnings that are systemised in these sections.

The association offers support to its members in two distinct phases:

  • During production, AACRI provides credit in the form of inputs and offers technical assistance in the fields. After the harvest, AACRI takes care of the collection, processing and commercialising of the coffee. It sells high-quality coffee in both national and international markets.


AAPROCNOP is a farmers’ organisation in the northwest of the province of Pichincha, in the canton of San Miguel de los Bancos in the parishes of Nanegalito, Nanegal, Pacto and Gualea. Its partners are committed to strengthening the production and commercialising of Arabica coffee.

This organisation has been working since 2007 and has around 40 hectares for production, which is benefited by the altitude of 1,400 to 1,600 metres above sea level. Due to its geographical location, it is ideal for growing varietals, allowing for excellent types of coffee.

Currently the organisations ASCAFEM, ASOPROCEP and AAPROCAFEP have joined AAPROCNOP’s work. This makes for the integration of 120 producers with an all-round estimated production of around 4,000 quintals/year (184,000 kg). The work is carried out by a diverse group and thanks to the impulse of generational change, the young people have become empowered in the productive chain of coffee cultivation which boosts the economy of the sector.

Currently the organisation has exportable and quality raw coffee, human talent, and the necessary legal requirements for the product to be commercialised abroad.


The Imbabura Coffee Producers Associative Network consists of 18 partners, in the province of Imbabura in the La Carolina parish. It has been legally recognised since 2014, and its partners to date have 110 hectares of coffee and 2,500 quintals (115,000 kg) of annual production.

The organisation is currently investing its time in acquiring production knowledge, as it does not have much knowledge of post-harvest practices. In addition, it handles topics important for its professionalisation, such as production technification, generational change, climate-resilient practices, and Q grader certification for tastings.

RAPCI is part of the northern coffee hub, which is positioning itself in the sector as large coffee producers. Because of their magnitude, the Decentralised Autonomous Government of Imbabura has invested in "Improving the quality of coffee."

The organisation is part of the meetings to set up the Coffee Hub of the North of the Country. Together with the organisations of Pichincha, Imbabura, and Carchi, they are looking for common objectives to the benefit of the farmers.


  • Poor post-harvest handling, impacting the transformation of cherry coffee into dry parchment coffee, exportable gold coffee (also called green coffee, without pulp, mucilage or parchment), and roasted and ground coffee. This weakens Ecuador's position as a specialty coffee-producing country, and its ranking worldwide.

  • Weak organisational structures that affect the professionalisation of organisations.

  • Low participation and integration of young people in the organisation.

  • Lack of activities that are resilient to climate change that allow crops to be preserved.


  • Professionalise quality coffee farmers’ organisations to provide adequate services to farmers and become reliable suppliers for their clients.

  • Form a network of coffee growers in the North Hub, to achieve a sustainable business model for the region.

  • Share the same vision between farmers and companies to implement sustainable business models for the acquisition of coffee.

  • Revitalise multi-actor spaces for the alignment of the quality coffee sector towards sustainable business models.

Project duration


What do we hope to achieve

  • Professionalised organisations with competitive advantages and that sell quality coffee, integrated into the market as a competitive and transparent organisation.

  • Young people (m/f) integrated in the socio-organisational and business management of farmers’ organisations.

  • Farms with greater resilience to climate change.

  • Inclusive and sustainable business models that share vision and mission.

  • Improving the quality of coffee to position the country as a producer of quality coffee.

AACRI (Agricultural Artisan Association of Coffee Growers by the Intag River)

AACRI (Agricultural Artisan Association of Coffee Growers by the Intag River)

The association is located in the Intag Area in the province of Imbabura that produces and markets high-altitude Arabica coffee, grown under shade. For production they use an agroforestry organic coffee system in association with endemic forest species. The commercialisation of coffee is carried out in higher percentages through the fairtrade system.

AAPROCNOP (Association of Artisan Farmers and Commercialisers of Coffee of the Northwest of Pichincha)

AAPROCNOP (Association of Artisan Farmers and Commercialisers of Coffee of the Northwest of Pichincha)

AAPROCNOP is a farmers’ organisation in the northwest of the province of Pichincha, in Ecuador.

RAPCI (Imbabura Coffee Producers Associative Network)

The Imbabura Coffee Producers Associative Network is located in the province of Imbabura in the La Carolina parish. It has been legally recognized since 2014.