Ecuador is located in South America between Colombia and Peru. It’s a multi ethic and cultural country divided in 24 provinces, which are distributed in four natural regions: Amazonia, Sierra (Highlands), Coast and Galapagos. The official languages of Ecuador are Spanish, Kichwa and Shuar. Ecuador is one of world’s most biologically diverse countries with over 1500 bird species, which is about 16 percent of all bird species in the world. And espite its small size Ecuador has twice the plant and animal species of the United States and Canada together, fourth times more than Europe and the largest number of plant especies per unit of area in the Americas.
Ecuador is one of the few countries in the world that exports Arabica and robusta washed and natural, thanks to its rich and diverse ecosystems. Coffee is grown in several areas mainly located in the western part of Andean mountain range. The Agricultural Census carried out in year 2000 revealed that there were 151,900 ha of coffee grown on its own and 168,764 ha as associate crop. Typically coffee is grown together cacao, bananas, citrus fruits, and wood trees. Ecuador produces both Arabica (68%) and robusta (32%). The former cultivated in the provinces of Manabi, Los Rios, El Oro Pichincha, Loja, and Imbabura and the later mainly in Amazonia – Sucumbíos and Orellana. Most of the coffee is grown on small farms, from 1 to 10 ha even on the farms where coffee is the solely crop.
Production of coffee has been irregular in the past six years for Arabica and robusta as shown on the ICO coffee statistics by producing countries, 766,000 bags (2003), 938,000 bags (2004), 1,120,000 bags (2005), 1,167,000 bags (2006), 1,110,000 bags (2007), 657,000 bags (2008). This low and irregular production has been attributed to a series of factors such as low yields, lack of training and technical assistance, no availability of credit and poor structural organisation of the coffee sector. Ecuador contributes less than 1% to the world production.