Hivos-Triodos Fund has provided a trade finance facility to UCHU Spice (UCHU). This company cultivates, processes and exports high quality and sustainably grown varieties of hot peppers, sourced from a network of smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Peru. The trade finance allows UCHU to pay the farmers fairly and immediately upon delivery of their produce.
UCHU is a family business founded by Phillip Baker who comes from a farming family of chili peppers, and marine biologist Imelda Echavarria. In 1992, the couple moved to Ecuador, where they set up a base of smallholder farmers. These farmers could only dedicate a small part of their land to the production of a cash crop, and UCHU gave them profitable access to export markets for their specialty hot peppers. The size of their operations has gradually expanded, first in Ecuador and then into Peru.