Think about how many people around the world enjoy chocolate, eating it and drinking it, and now the ’trend’ for ceremonial cacao at workshops in all kinds of guises. It has to change globally, so that all Cacao farming communities have the same opportunity.
We have 5 pillars in our vision, but at the core and what drives our projects is this fundamental ethos.
First the Cacao farmer’s family, community, village has their own Cacao and then we support in further income in building new markets overseas. This then naturally means we have to be on the ground, in the villages, training and showing how a variety of cacao products can be made without any special tools or power.
Did you know that the majority of Cacao farming communities, not only do not drink their own Cacao but quite literally have never put it in their mouth?
Depending on the region, they may drink imported drinks such as milo, but never have consumed their own cacao!
They consider it ‘white mans food’, for big factories to be turned into something call chocolate. Unfortunately there is no concept at the village level of how to use local Cacao.
Seeing the change
The families gain the amazing health benefits of eating local fresh cacao
They are connected to their own crop and no longer believe it to be something for export only. This gives them back their power!
They will no longer be taken advantage of by the the big buyers, because there is the possibility of local markets and local consumption.
They will know quality, and reconnect to their trees in a whole new way!
And so the projects the Cacao Ambassador is in to make a true, ground breaking, first ever change for Cacao communities includes the following...
Project One –
Working alongside Cathliro, with 6 villages in Guadalcanal, and training at village level on the following:
How to make local Cacao products
How to sell locally, these products for a real connected income free of price control
How to save money at village level for future needs such as the doctors or school uniforms
What a healthy diet looks like
This takes time and changing timelines where Cacao was brought with one intention only - grow it for us, some we can have chocolate. Many farmers have to be taught how to ferment and sun dry so there is even the option to have their own Cacao
Project Two –
Working with Cathliro to develop new innovatives, Cacao products that are fresh and potent. These are produced in Honiara, for export into Australia and New Zealand.
This is grass roots Cacao, directly connected with 6 villages and directly giving back in a a way that is designed for these villages, as all cacao communities across the globe are unique and one approach does not answer all.
This is for empowerment, reconnection to a powerful crop that has been broken for a long time because of the push for volume from the chocolate industry and ensuring ground breaking change in the Pacific.
Project Three –
Working alongside KPSI:
KPSI is a coconut oil producing company who work with coconut growing communities through out the Solomons. These beautiful communities also have Cacao. Most of the cacao is not harvested, and if it is, it is sold into the bulk market at a shockingly low price. None of the farmers consume their own Cacao.
In addition in the Solomons, nearly 100 tonne of cacao powder and other cacao products are imported in the Solomons. So if a Cacao growing family want to bake a chocolate cake, currently they would pay $70 local dollars for Cacao powder and yet sell their beans for $12 local dollars.
And so we are working on a new project with the support of the Australian AID organisation called Strongim Bisnis, to produce Cacao powder in Honiara, utilising all the beautiful boutique beans that are sold at a shocking low price, and exporting the amazing bi-product Cacao butter internationally. The powder will compete in the local market, and open an entirely new trading way for farmers, which is a price agreed for 12 months, irrelevant of the world stock exchange pricing and is focused on increasing income for the farming communities in terms of paying a real price for their beautiful cacao beans.
In addition to the central production of Cacao Powder and Butter, we will work at the village level of all Coconut & Cacao farming communities, training on how to produce their own local cacao powder and butter and investing in solar driven small equipment that will complete the extraction for both Cacao butter and coconut oil. This can sold locally instead of products such a milo and the farming communities will have the health benefits of their own Cacao. This project will expand farming communities income by creating a real market for their Cacao in Honiara and supporting the growth of a local market.
Note: Does a chocolate bar change pricing daily in the supermarket? Do you roughly know what your chocolate budget is with stable pricing? Then why does a Cacao farmer have to be subject to daily price variations? Because of Cacao being on the world stock exchange and traded as a commodity. We want to break this cycle and give the farmers back their independence and stability!
Papua New Guinea
Project One –
Working with Australian and New Zealand Aid through the organisation called Pharma Plus to support the export of value added Cacao products from PNG. This is working alongside 4 farming communities, ensuring they are consuming their own cacao daily, growing their income, and producing high quality beans. These beans then travel to Port Moresby to be transformed into competitive value added beautiful Cacao products for export around the world.
This includes customised Cacao Paste for the Cacao Ambassador from Manabu Plantation of Central province.
This again ensures a stable price for the farming communities who produce the high quality beans, that is free of the world stock exchange, and the beans are transformed in the country of growing. This also ensures the freshest quality of Cacao possible to you. There is the balance in this, because lots of middle levels where mark up after mark up is added, is removed, the farming communities consume their own cacao and are paid a true price, and a high quality fresh cacao paste, chocolate, powder, butter is available at a an affordable price to the NZ and Australian market without a massive footprint of shipping and long shipping routes.
At the core we are bringing the most local Cacao available into Aotearoa and Australia, in a new ground breaking model!
Project Two –
Working directly with Manabu plantation in Central Province, creating a whole new era for the villages surrounding this plantation. This region grew a large volume of Cacao up until the 80s when the market in Europe fell away. Now a large amount of Cacao is growing wild in the jungles.
The project with Kingston of Manabu plantation will:
Develop a nursery for Cacao seedlings
Provide Cacao seedlings to rubber plantations so Cacao can grow along the rows between the rubber trees (cacao loves shade and Rubber trees), and bring a new income to the farming communities
Train the villagers now to harvest wild cacao for their own consumption now whilst they wait for their Cacao trees to bear fruit in 2-3 years time.
Train a central group of women in how to produce local Cacao nibs, Cacao powder, Cacao butter and Cacao husk tea, to sell locally and generate their own independent income. This project will lead the way of what is possible in working differently at the roots of Cacao growing communities.
First the family, through harvesting wild cacao will have cacao for their own enjoyment, whilst they wait for the seedlings to grow, developing a local market first before export. This is a beautiful new way to bring Cacao to any community new!
This also includes developing a new market so that when the region is growing new and more Cacao alongside Manabu plantation, we have a market for them that is real and connected and stable.
It is imperative, not to just encourage farmers to grow more Cacao, but to create new markets so that their efforts is met with sustainable healthy long term markets free of the world stock exchange, supplying countries closest to them.
Cacao Eco Tourism –
A huge part of the challenges of Cacao farming communities, is the disconnect with the world and those who love what their crop, Cacao is turned into. They literally have no idea how much chocolate is loved and how precious Cacao is.
And most Chocolate lovers in the west have no idea what goes into Cacao, chocolate Ceremonial Cacao, nor how profoundly healing being with Cacao trees are and so we are developing cacao retreats and programs, to truly close the gap between farmer and consumer. This will change so much long term!
We are keen and casting seeds to expand our work into Africa and India and are working on opening doors for this to take place:
Giving all Cacao farmers back their power through connecting them to their own Cacao and showing them how to build a local market
Creating new markets that is free of the world stock exchange that is stable and in balance, connecting farming communities and consumers.
And in all of this it is imperative that we educate educate educate to ensure the true gift and wonder of Cacao is known and available to as many as possible...