How Breeding a Cacao Tree Led to Greater Financial Stability

How Breeding a Cacao Tree Led to Greater Financial Stability

In the middle of a lush, green farm in Ecuador, Diego is handpicking pods from the cacao tree his grandfather, Homero Castro, bred to resist disease, pests, and climate change. Homero was tireless in his efforts to create a means to continue farming without worrying about how various factors would affect his family’s livelihood. 

A Farmer Harvesting Cacao

As many farmers in Ecuador were forced to leave the trade due to diseases destroying their goods, it became increasingly apparent to Homero that to lose his crops would mean to lose everything: his home, his security, and his ability to provide for his family. 

In the 1920s, the Witches Broom, a disease that attacks cacao, ravaged the industry in Ecuador, causing many farms to collapse. During this time, importers simply pivoted, sourcing instead from other countries. As Homero watched these events unfold, he became keenly aware that farmers held the most risk within the industry and that a more resilient crop would mean a more stable income and less financial stress for the future. 

Cacao Beans

So Homero went to work, iterating 51 times before finally creating a resilient hybrid tree that would prove to endure decades of farming. Over the past 80 years, his farm has been passed down for two generations who have both taught their children to cultivate, harvest, ferment, bag, and ship the cacao. Like many of us, Homero knew that financial security would enable his family to lead dignified lives. 

Now, filling his grandfather’s shoes, Diego works to create a steady income stream for his family and the families of those who work for him. Each of Diego’s farmers not only earn livable wages, but they are also provided insurance in case of injury or illness. By sourcing from Teo Cacao Blends, companies can vote with their dollar as they contribute to the legacy and livelihoods of farmers like Homero and Diego. 

Diego and his Family

To shop cacao sourced directly from Diego and his family, visit Teo Cacao Blends on our website.