Cocoa Farmers Are Finally Receiving Long Overdue Recognition

Cocoa is required for chocolate, yet almost every award for chocolate is given to the end maker. The farmers are responsible for the varieties of crops, yet they are excluded. CoEx brings chocolatiers and experts in sensory analysis together every two years for blind tastings of samples of cocoas. Forty countries in the equatorial belt supplied 166 cocoa samples. Of these countries, eighteen received an ICA award for their skill and effort.

These awards are trying to empower the farmers by celebrating and highlighting the cocoa supply chain. The numerous flavors and the quality come from the knowledge of the farmers, the qualities of the terroir and the post-harvest processing. The variety of tantalizing tastes and smells is vital for production. The farmers are vital because they provide a resistance to outbreaks of diseases and pests, and a resilience to the climatic conditions.

The International Cocoa Awards are like the coffee awards through the Cup of Excellence. The intention of the awards is to help farmers receive a higher price for crops, so they can continue growing cocoa. A lot of time has been spent asking farmers questions as to what would be most helpful, if there was any interest in receiving a loan and if agronomy training would be considered. The response from the farmers was they simply wanted to receive a fair price for their hard work and their cocoa. For more information, please visit Your text to link….

Most cocoa growers are very poor, and the Cocoa of Excellence program is making the effort to help these farmers. Their efforts are effective because during a yearly evaluation survey, 57 percent of the farmers said the program has helped them sell their crops for a premium price. A farmer has the right to equal treatment despite how much land they own. They deserve the same ethical business practices and respect given to the bigger farmers in more highly developed countries. The hope is the work will result in the small farmers receiving recognition as producing some of the best cocoa crops. This in turn may draw the interest of the world’s chocolate makers.