Experienced sustainability consultant Giovanni Ginatta discussed Ecuador's Biotrade Initiative and the Latin American Cocoa Initiative.
On October 5 the Fowler Center welcomed guest speaker Giovanni Ginatta, an experienced sustainability consultant who has worked closely with the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the Development Bank of Latin America. Mr. Ginatta discussed his efforts as Executive Director of Ecuador’s Biotrade Initiative, which focuses on business derived from local biodiversity. He noted that while the country’s rich biodiversity remains a largely untapped resource, certain companies—such as Runa, which produces traditional guayusa tea, or Napo Wildlife, a rainforest lodge in Yasuní National Park—are exploring sustainable ways to capitalize on Ecuador’s natural bounty.
As a cocoa farmer, Mr. Ginatta also spoke about the challenges of low productivity and profitability faced by small producers. Cocoa production plays a significant role in Ecuador’s economy, comprising 0.75% of the country’s GDP; nearly 80% of the 400,000 growers are family operations. Mr. Ginatta coordinates the Latin American Cocoa Initiative, which aims to engage 10 countries in implementing a sustainable value chain. Given Latin America’s strengths in the production of fine cocoa, the organization is currently working to develop a specialty segment that would help farmers to differentiate their products on the international market.
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