Vila Times

Vanuatu cocoa beans among top 50 in the world

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Cocoa beans produced in Vanuatu by farmer Moli have been named in the top 50 in the world.

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme recently announced the top 50 cocoa bean samples for 2017 from those submitted from 40 countries, reports World Vision organisation.

Moli, 44, shared his excitement at hearing the news, “I was pruning my cocoa trees and heard the sound of a text message on my phone. It was from Sandrine Wallez, the Director of ACTIV Association (Alternative Communities Trade in Vanuatu).

“I never expected this. We are so small in Vanuatu and my island of Malo. But with this news I feel like my island and country flew up into the sky like an eagle and was placed on the world map. Small is beautiful, practical and powerful.

“The news created a feeling in me of achieving self-reliance. There is no-one else in control. Before I was depend, depend, depend, but now I know I can do it independently. This is what independence means for me and my country.

“This is the effect of the SCED (Sanma Community Economic Development project). It has had a huge effect on me. I’m so proud of the project. It has really changed my mindset and belief in myself.

“Last year I pruned 100 cocoa trees in my plantation. This year I have pruned 270 trees and am expecting an even bigger harvest. I have more than doubled the rate of my pruning. This is the effect of the project. This is sustainability.”

Dr Adam Trau, World Vision Resilience & Livelihoods Technical Advisor who is based in Vanuatu shared, “Moli is one of the proudest, most respected farmers that World Vision has worked with in Vanuatu. He is a model of sustainability. With knowledge, skills, and market exposure through the SCED project, he has established strong direct links with a buyer for his cocoa, ACTIV Association. as well as prospective international buyers. He has set up his plantation as a demonstration and training site for farmers from all around his island. He regularly hosts other Malo farmers to help them learn improved farming and processing techniques, and recently distributed over 200 of his own cocoa seedlings to farmers from his own nursery.”

The top 50 best cocoa samples will be processed into chocolate and evaluated blindly by a wider panel of sensory evaluation experts and chocolate makers in September 2017. Between three and five cocoa producers from each of the four cocoa regions will be selected for an International Cocoa Award by mid-October and celebrated on 30 October 2017 at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France.

The Sanma Community Economic Development project is funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and HB Williams Trust.