As chocolatesellers there are a few things we rather do than selling chocolate. Of course, eating chocolate would be one of them. But also: learn about the world of chocolate & teach people about how it works. That’s why we let customers ask questions, questions we send to the makers of the chocolates we sell.
The first question we got was by Paul’s mother, a fan of milkchocolate interested in the ethical side of chocolate and cacao. Do you also have a question for the chocolate makers? Contact us!
This blog is also available in dutch.
What do you know about the farms who produce the cacao for your chocolate?
We have send this question to the makers of the chocolates we sell. And received a lot of answers.
Here is the answer by Hoja Verde. (The answer was in dutch, by importer Jolanda Groot. Translated by Chocoladeverkopers)
Hoja Verde buys it’s cacao beans from Association Aproca in the province of Esmeraldas in the north of Ecuador. There are about 400 families in this coöperation. Hoja Verde pays the farmers a good price, much higher than the stock market price. This money goes directly to the cacaofarmers. The money for beans must also be paid immediately, not afterwards, so buy & pay directly. The farmers we buy from get a higher price because of their quality and certificates.
Association Aproca helps farmers with their knowledge about planting young cacaoplants, nurturing them and especially the pruning which is very important, about harvesting the cacaofruit and about fermentation of the cacaobeans after the harvest.
The farmers are also taught how to get a higher production. And some farmers don’t do the fermentation by themselves, but let Aproco do it.
The farmers can have their beans tested and analysed by a small lab. That way they are not dependant on the reports of the cacao-traders, who will ofcourse always try and offer a lower price, based on false reports about the quality.
Every family has between 1 and 3 hectare of their own ground. The families live in plain houses. They can live a good life with the money they make with cacao.
On the plantations there is a big biodiversity: cacaoplants grow next to a lot of other fruit-trees, like bananes, papaya’s and other tropical trees and plants. This ensures no pesticides are needed and the cacaobeans are biologically certified.
Cooperation of government and organisations
The Ecuadorian government works together with the National Institue for Agricultural Research (INiAP) and the organisation Conservation & Development to help the farmers produce cacao sustainably. Last year on Chocoa it was said that Ecuador is very good in producing sustainable cacao.
At the moment one of the owners has gone, together with his wife, to the plantations to get a lot of documentation-material about the farmers, plantations, etc. This is because we want to do even more about storytelling, so consumers will begin to understand why our bars are more expensive than bars in the supermarkted. In this storytelling we will also show how much more Hoja Verde pays it’s farmers
(answer by Jolanda Groot, importer of Hoja Verde in the Netherlands. Answer in dutch, translation by Chocoladeverkopers)
We have send this question to more chocolate makers, you can also read their answers.