SAFE Ecuador

SAFE Ecuador


51.2% of the continental territory of Ecuador is covered by native forests, of which 74% is in the Amazon region. From 2002 to 2022, Ecuador lost 954 kha of tree cover, the equivalent of a 5% decrease in tree cover since 2000, with shifting agriculture being the main deforestation driver. Most of the tree cover loss is happening in the regions of Sucumbíos and Orellana. (Global Forest Watch, 2022) These regions, crucial for international exports, contain vast Amazon rainforests, including protected areas and Indigenous territories.
The European Union is one of the main export markets for Ecuadorian agricultural, agro-industrial and timber products. The agricultural sector in Ecuador consists mainly of smallholder farmers, who now face the risk of being excluded from international markets due to new requirements on proving sustainable and deforestation-free production. The main challenge now is to maintain the access of cocoa, coffee, palm oil and timber value chains to international markets and to take advantage of the opportunities that the EU regulation on deforestation-free products may present.

Approach in Ecuador

To support a transition to sustainable and deforestation-free value chains in Ecuador, it is necessary to provide tools and approaches to prepare the key actors in the value chain – including the public and private sector – and to promote the formalisation of relevant value chains. The SAFE project supports Ecuador in these processes. To this end, SAFE cooperates at national level with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, and the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investment and Fisheries. At the same time, work is being carried out with private sector actors, especially export companies and their associations. At local level, actions are concentrated in the provinces of Sucumbíos and Orellana, in the northern Amazon region of Ecuador, together with local governments and cocoa and coffee producer organisations.


  • Strengthening public and public-private dialogue at the national and provincial levels, in thematic areas including production, commercialisation, environmental protection, land use, strengthening and formalization of value chains, gender and human rights.
  • Analysis of legality and costs of formalisation in Ecuador within the framework of the EUDR
  • Support for improvement of competitiveness within the framework of the EUDR, including:
    • Implementation of pilots and development of tools for the construction of due diligence approaches and traceability systems.
    • Promotion of legal practices in production processes.
    • Strengthening cooperation and alignment among the actors of the value chains.
    • Support for strengthening inclusion of small producers in supply chains relevant to the EU.
    • Capacity building for key actors from the public and private sector on the EUDR and issues arising from the regulation

Commodities SAFE is Working on in Ecuador

Palm Oil