Transparency: farmer prosperity is a key ingredient in good chocolate

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Tosier Chocolatemaker embraces transparency trade to source quality cacao.

Many companies are waking up to how business can create positive social and environmental change. We are grateful and excited to be a part of the bold new vision of cacao farmer prosperity, and thrilled to work with Uncommon Cacao.

Alto Beni Cacao, Bolivia - 2017 harvest

70%: Floral notes, with a whisper of honey and a smooth buttery finish

Origin Story

Deep in the jungles of Alto Beni, Bolivia, a young cacao company started by two Bolivian brothers has transformed the local cacao economy. Nelson and Jorge Valverde started the Alto Beni Cacao Company (ABC) in 2010 to improve livelihoods of small-scale farmers who depend on cacao as a main source of income. ABC pays premium farmgate prices and runs a careful centralized post-harvest operation. In 2016, ABC made adjustments with technical support by Uncommon Cacao to improve flavor and consistency. The 2016 harvest was not certified organic, though organically cultivated, and previous harvests have all been certified. We expect ABC to regain organic certification in 2017.

 
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Maya Mountain Cacao, Belize - 2018 harvest

70%: Delicate notes of pineapple, pepper and rainforest fruits

90%: Rich and buttery with red fruit notes

Origin Story

Maya Mountain Cacao (“MMC”) is a pioneer in direct trade cacao sourcing. MMC, founded in 2010, put Belize on the craft chocolate map as the first exporter in the country to produce high-quality, centrally-fermented, transparently sourced cacao. MMC works with 350+ certified organic smallholder cacao farming families in the Toledo District, most of them indigenous Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Maya. MMC centrally processes all cacao at a post-harvest facility where three unique stages of sun drying create optimal flavor. MMC operates a 24-hectare Demonstration Farm, for research and trainings in best practices for increasing cacao yield and quality; in 2016, the first pods were harvested from the demo farm, just 18 months after planting. MMC is focused on being a sustainable, long term and transparent partner to farmers and producing uniquely delicious and sweet cacao that creates real positive impact for the communities of southern Belize.

 
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Acul du Nord, Haiti - 2017 harvest

70%: Complex with distinct sour cherry notes, fig and red fruits.

Origin Story

Produits Des Iles SA (PISA) is committed to changing the way cacao is processed and exported from Haiti. Historically, large export companies have purchased dried, unfermented, low quality cacao from smallholder farmers at prices below the commodity market. PISA’s launch in 2014 of their centralized processing facility represented a revolutionary change in Haiti’s cacao production system. Now, PISA is the only company purchasing and centrally fermenting wet cacao, and as a result are able to sell it at a higher price for its higher quality. Farmers now earn approximately four-times as much money as they did before PISA, and are simultaneously incentivized to protect their trees from the environmentally degrading charcoal market.

 
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Tumaco, Colombia - 2017 harvest

70%: Rich and nutty with notes of sweet banana and a hint of spice.

Origin Story

On the southern pacific coast of Colombia, Tumaco is a region that has been hard hit by historic political conflict and plagued by narco trafficking. The predominantly Afro-Colombian population has faced a great deal of prejudice and sustainable local development has been hijacked by extensive penetration of paramilitary and narco groups. When Cacao de Colombia first explored the region back in 2011, they found cacao everywhere; drying on any flat surface farmers could find, including the road. The sheer volume of cacao was overwhelming, and the opportunity for quality and systemic improvement was obvious. Cacao de Colombia has worked with three community cooperatives to introduce centralized processing and drying. Because of the introduction of centralized processing and Cacao de Colombia’s expertise in high-quality flavor development, farmers today earn 70% more income from cacao today than they did when selling dried beans to the commodity market supply chain, and have a true sustainable alternative to coca production or involvement in the narco groups.

 
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David & George