Research completed by economics student Eduardo Cobos Hernández of Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito highlights a few of the reasons why Community Evolution partner, Flor de Caña, has done well for itself and its community since formally becoming an association in 2009.

 Flor de Caña at a glance
  • 92 producer families
  • Living in the communities of La Florida and Palo Quemado, Ecuador
  • Growing sugar cane on approximately 43 hectares and producing and selling panela
  • Established in 2007
  • New processing plant inaugurated in May 2019
Business benefits abound

The study showed that while farmers may be growing sugar cane and producing panela in the same region, they have distinct realities in terms of production, sales, and income generated. Panela producers who are part of an association in  the parish of Palo Quemado are better off economically.

Flor de Caña produces on average 342 quintals (100 pounds) of panela per year, while individual panela businesses produced 238 quintals. Flor de Caña Association was also able to sell their product at a better price.

What is panela?

Panela is unrefined whole cane sugar, common in Latin America. A solid loaf of sucrose is made by boiling and evaporating sugarcane juice.

USD earned per quintal of panela sold by individual panela producers

USD earned per quintal of panela sold by Flor de Caña

Cobos Hernández found that formal business structures were key in Flor de Caña’s success. Associations, or co-operatives, are an alternative business model to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.


Direct from Quito: Hear from researcher Eduardo Cobos Hernández