DE  |  FR  |  IT
Organic-Fair Farming HAND IN HAND-Partner

El Ceibo and organic fair trade cocoa – a fair trade success story


Cocoa from Rapunzel’s HAND IN HAND programme doesn’t know any child labour

The El Ceibo cooperative was founded by Bolivian smallholder families. It is considered a beacon for demonstrating how organic farming and fair trade can improve people’s living conditions – especially in light of the fact that Bolivia is still considered a poor and structurally weak country in South America.
Hand in Hand Logo
Thanks to Rapunzel, El Ceibo already switched to organic farming at the end of the 1980s. What is more, the Bolivian cooperative became the first overseas supplier for the natural food pioneer. This set an impressive development in motion. El Ceibo was the first small farmers' cooperative to both sell organic raw cocoa and to process the raw material itself – initially, so-called semi-finished products were made, namely cocoa mass and then, processed from this, cocoa powder and cocoa butter, which was subsequently even followed by own chocolate with an own distribution structure.

This is part of the cooperative's recipe for success: Education and consistent promotion of its own junior staff. And unlike some cocoa-growing regions such as West Africa, it is guaranteed that no child labour is used at El Ceibo and other Rapunzel HAND IN HAND suppliers.
Kakao
Kakao
El Ceibo in a nutshell
  • Organic smallholder co-operative of 48 grass roots co-operatives, with around 1,300 active members
  • Cultivation of organic cocoa in mixed cultivation in the tropical lowlands of Bolivia
  • Own processing and chocolate factory in El Alto and own sales organisation
  • Around 130 employees in Sapecho (receipt and fermentation of the cocoa) and El Alto (further processing of the cocoa)
  • Founded as a cooperative in 1977, first overseas Rapunzel supplier in 1987, first HAND IN HAND partner

It all started with an adventure


Activation of this OpenStreetMap map uses map material stored locally on our servers.
No personal data will be given to third parties.

Read more about our privacy policy.

In the 1980s, Rapunzel founder, Joseph Wilhelm, travelled to Bolivia in search of organic cocoa. He travelled down into the lowlands via the notorious “death road”, which fortunately has meanwhile been developed, visited cocoa farmers on river boats in the lush, tropical lowlands and held discussions at meetings of the El Ceibo cooperative.
The members of El Ceibo had been resettled from the Andes to the lowlands of Alto Beni in the 1960s. This meant completely new living conditions and also new agricultural crops that they had to get used to. They already gained some experience with fair trade but faced many problems with conventional cocoa cultivation, and their trees were diseased.
Rapunzel convinced the farmers to go organic – both in word and deed. And, thanks to the advice on organic cultivation, with new, often mechanical and natural methods, the cocoa plantations recovered. This is how El Ceibo became the first “overseas” Rapunzel supplier and the first partner of the company's HAND IN HAND programme. To this day, both sides value the tried-and-tested co-operation.
Rapunzel and El Ceibo are linked by decades of partnership.
Rapunzel and El Ceibo are linked by decades of partnership.
Rapunzel and El Ceibo are linked by decades of partnership.
From the early years: Agricultural advisor, Joachim Milz, Joseph Wilhelm's travelling companion, visits a cocoa farmer.
From the early years: Agricultural advisor, Joachim Milz, Joseph Wilhelm's travelling companion, visits a cocoa farmer.
From the early years: Agricultural advisor, Joachim Milz, Joseph Wilhelm's travelling companion, visits a cocoa farmer.

Organic cocoa from mixed cultivation


The forest grows right up to the farmhouses around the village of Sapecho in Alto Beni. It is not wilderness, as the cocoa trees of the cooperative members are carefully tended by hand among native tropical tree species, various fruit trees and medicinal plants. This mixed cultivation – a form of ecological agroforestry – guarantees sustainable cultivation, the production of a wide variety of species, great biodiversity, and a healthy overall system.
El Ceibo attaches particular importance to the long-term care and rejuvenation of its mixed crops. The cooperative grows 40,000 cocoa seedlings, fruit and other trees in its research centre every year. They are sold both to the members and to third parties at favourable prices.
The main cocoa harvest takes place from May to around September. The heavy fruits are cut from the tree, one by one, using a machete. After a brief ripening process, the farmers open the fruit on their plots and separate the cocoa beans from the soft fruit flesh, the pulp.

El Ceibo's cocoa comes from healthy agroforestry systems.
El Ceibo's cocoa comes from healthy agroforestry systems.
El Ceibo's cocoa comes from healthy agroforestry systems.

Added value on site


Depending on the prevailing temperature, the beans are allowed to ferment in boxes for around a week after harvesting, for the most part already in the fermentation centre in Sapecho – a service provided by the cooperative, as well as an opportunity to constantly optimise the important process and involve the farming families in the process. This fermentation process is essential for developing the flavour.
After fermentation, subsequent drying in the sun and initial sorting, lorries from the cooperative transport the beans all the way to El Alto in the highlands. There, in “Industria”, El Ceibo's own cocoa processing plant near the metropolis of La Paz, the cocoa beans are roasted. After this, their thin shell is removed and they are ground.
El Ceibo extracts cocoa powder and other cocoa products locally.
El Ceibo extracts cocoa powder and other cocoa products locally.
El Ceibo extracts cocoa powder and other cocoa products locally.
Perspectives across generations – also thanks to educational programmes and tree nurseries.
Perspectives across generations – also thanks to educational programmes and tree nurseries.
Perspectives across generations – also thanks to educational programmes and tree nurseries.
El Ceibo also extracts cocoa butter and cocoa powder from this cocoa mass and processes some of it into its own chocolate. With these processing steps, the added value remains with El Ceibo and, as such, in the country of origin – a major development step for the cooperative and a model for many other cooperatives in Latin America. This step was made possible by fair trade, with its stable prices and long-term partnership.
 

The cooperative supports its members in a variety of ways. In addition to the promise to purchase organic cocoa, this includes cultivation advice, seedlings from tree nurseries, research into new cocoa varieties, further training, social support such as health funds, pension schemes or loans, and discounted purchases in the cooperative's shops.
From the fruit to its own chocolate – El Ceibo serves as a model for other cooperatives.
From the fruit to its own chocolate – El Ceibo serves as a model for other cooperatives.
From the fruit to its own chocolate – El Ceibo serves as a model for other cooperatives.
El Ceibo and Rapunzel emphasise training in organic agroforestry.
El Ceibo and Rapunzel emphasise training in organic agroforestry.
El Ceibo and Rapunzel emphasise training in organic agroforestry.
El Ceibo and affiliated organisations were also repeatedly supported by the HAND IN HAND fund (merged into the RAPUNZEL One World Organic Foundation in 2022), which was established by Rapunzel – on ecological topics, an improvement of cocoa cultivation, water supply or model projects for the sustainable cultivation of rice.

El Ceibo takes the future into its own hands


“The children and young people benefit the most,” Barbara Altmann, Head of Sustainable Supply Chain Management at Rapunzel, knows from her own experience. Education is an important topic for El Ceibo – starting with general school education for boys and girls, but also higher education at universities – and has always been a great motivation for the fair trade farmers.
This also includes the issue of generational change. Will the children continue to work on their own farm? How can cocoa farming be made attractive for the next generation? It is also important that the older children can gain their own impressions and experiences. During harvest time, many of them help out with non-hazardous work after school. This is anything but organised child labour and is actually extremely important for the future of the farming families. Young adults are also deliberately invited to the cooperation meetings.
The efforts are paying off. The educational pathways allow for new careers. At the same time, the generational change has been successful. “Of four children that a family has on average, two are interested in cocoa farming. The children see a future in cocoa farming,” Víctor Jiménez Torres, former Secretary of the Board of Directors of El Ceibo, confirms. Yet more proof of El Ceibo's sustainable success: Almost all employees in the cocoa reception or processing plant are members of the cooperative – or children of members.

Suitable for grandchildren: HAND IN HAND also secures a future for future generations.
Suitable for grandchildren: HAND IN HAND also secures a future for future generations.
Suitable for grandchildren: HAND IN HAND also secures a future for future generations.

HAND IN HAND-Produkte


Bittersweet chocolate 70% (Rapadura) HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 70% (Rapadura) HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet choc. 90% cocoa with coconut blossom sugar HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet choc. 90% cocoa with coconut blossom sugar HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with almonds 55% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with almonds 55% HAND IN HAND
Ginger semisweet chocolate 55% HAND IN HAND
Ginger semisweet chocolate 55% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with coconut cream HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with coconut cream HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with creamy peppermint filling HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with creamy peppermint filling HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate 60% with whole nuts HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate 60% with whole nuts HAND IN HAND
Semisweet Nougat chocolate HAND IN HAND
Semisweet Nougat chocolate HAND IN HAND
Nirwana Noir 55% with dark nut truffle cream HAND IN HAND
Nirwana Noir 55% with dark nut truffle cream HAND IN HAND
Semisweet mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Semisweet mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with espresso splits 51% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with espresso splits 51% HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate almond-tonka HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate almond-tonka HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate Milch Michl with milk filling HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate Milch Michl with milk filling HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Dark Milk chocolate with 46% cocoa HAND IN HAND
Dark Milk chocolate with 46% cocoa HAND IN HAND
Nougat chocolate HAND IN HAND
Nougat chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with whole almonds HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with whole almonds HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with whole almonds, 200g HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with whole almonds, 200g HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate Crispy HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate Crispy HAND IN HAND
Fruit & nut mix chocolate, 200g HAND IN HAND
Fruit & nut mix chocolate, 200g HAND IN HAND
Fruit & nut mix chocolate HAND IN HAND
Fruit & nut mix chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with creamy caramel filling HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with creamy caramel filling HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate honey-almond-brittle HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate honey-almond-brittle HAND IN HAND
Nirwana chocolate with praline filling HAND IN HAND
Nirwana chocolate with praline filling HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with hazelnuts HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with hazelnuts HAND IN HAND
Milk mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Milk mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Rum raisin hazelnut milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Rum raisin hazelnut milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Coconut cream milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Coconut cream milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with almond brittle HAND IN HAND
Milk chocolate with almond brittle HAND IN HAND
Samba chocolate HAND IN HAND
Samba chocolate HAND IN HAND
White chocolate HAND IN HAND
White chocolate HAND IN HAND
White chocolate with coconut HAND IN HAND
White chocolate with coconut HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 70% (Rapadura) HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 70% (Rapadura) HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet chocolate 85% HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet choc. 90% cocoa with coconut blossom sugar HAND IN HAND
Bittersweet choc. 90% cocoa with coconut blossom sugar HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with almonds 55% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with almonds 55% HAND IN HAND
Ginger semisweet chocolate 55% HAND IN HAND
Ginger semisweet chocolate 55% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with coconut cream HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with coconut cream HAND IN HAND
Rice Choco vegan bright chocolate HAND IN HAND
Rice Choco vegan bright chocolate HAND IN HAND
Nirwana Noir 55% with dark nut truffle cream HAND IN HAND
Nirwana Noir 55% with dark nut truffle cream HAND IN HAND
Coconut milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Coconut milk chocolate HAND IN HAND
Nirwana vegan chocolate HAND IN HAND
Nirwana vegan chocolate HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with espresso splits 51% HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate with espresso splits 51% HAND IN HAND
Milk mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Milk mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Semisweet mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Semisweet mini chocolate bars HAND IN HAND
Ladybirds HAND IN HAND
Ladybirds HAND IN HAND
Ladybirds HAND IN HAND
Ladybirds HAND IN HAND
Nirwana hearts HAND IN HAND
Nirwana hearts HAND IN HAND
Nirwana hearts HAND IN HAND
Nirwana hearts HAND IN HAND
Milk couverture HAND IN HAND
Milk couverture HAND IN HAND
White couverture HAND IN HAND
White couverture HAND IN HAND
Semisweet couverture HAND IN HAND
Semisweet couverture HAND IN HAND
Whole milk chocolate drops HAND IN HAND
Whole milk chocolate drops HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate drops HAND IN HAND
Semisweet chocolate drops HAND IN HAND
Cocoa powder, low fat HAND IN HAND
Cocoa powder, low fat HAND IN HAND
Tiger cocoa drink HAND IN HAND
Tiger cocoa drink HAND IN HAND
Tigerquick cocoa drink instant HAND IN HAND
Tigerquick cocoa drink instant HAND IN HAND
Cocoa butter mild HAND IN HAND
Cocoa butter mild HAND IN HAND
Cocoa butter natural HAND IN HAND
Cocoa butter natural HAND IN HAND

Receipes with cocoa butter, cocoa powder or chocolate


VEGAN Logo
Dalgona coffee
Dalgona coffee

Sweet crepes
Sweet crepes

VEGAN Logo
Tsampaballs with cranberries
Tsampaballs with cranberries

VEGAN Logo
Protein smoothie with hemp seeds and cocoa
Protein smoothie with hemp seeds and cocoa

VEGAN Logo
Hazelnut balls with cocoa
Hazelnut balls with cocoa

Apple-Chocolate-Trifle
Apple-Chocolate-Trifle

VEGAN Logo
Russian chocolate cheesecake, vegan
Russian chocolate cheesecake, vegan

VEGAN Logo
Chuncky monkey banana chocolate almond nicecream
Chuncky monkey banana chocolate almond nicecream

VEGAN Logo
Protein smoothie with dates and oats
Protein smoothie with dates and oats

VEGAN Logo
Low carb choco-fudge with hempseeds and almonds
Low carb choco-fudge with hempseeds and almonds

Almond Tiramisu
Almond Tiramisu

VEGAN Logo
Mocha Ice Coffee with Coffee Ice Cubes
Mocha Ice Coffee with Coffee Ice Cubes

HAND IN HAND

Fair trade and organic farming are central for Rapunzel


Foreign Distributors

We distribute our products around the world - our local partners are happy to help you.


Rapunzel Naturkost © 2024 • Imprint & privacy protection privacy settingsPrint version