Prior to our arrival in St Lucia, the outlook for a cocoa farmer wasn’t very bright. After harvesting there was no guaranteed market for all of your crop. After finding out how much of it was going to be bought, you might have to wait 6 months to be paid. As we found out for ourselves, growing cocoa under these conditions is a loss-making enterprise.
From our base at Rabot Estate we have reached out to the wider cocoa-growing community with our Engaged Ethics Cocoa Program.
- we guarantee we will buy all the quality cocoa that farmers in the program wish to sell.
- we pay farmers 40% more than they received previously.
- we pay within 1 week.
- we buy the cocoa ‘wet’ i.e not fermented to ensure consistent taste quality and leaving the farmers to concentrate on growing and replanting.
- All this above is supported by advice and technical expertise. Phil Buckley (Estate Director at Rabot) has already carried out four workshops to farmer groups throughout St Lucia and continues to do them.
The industry model for the global chocolate industry is to buy only the commodity crop from the developing nation and then to add all the chocolate-making value to it back in Europe or the US. Our initiative turns industry practice on its head and creates a more even distribution of benefits from those who love fine chocolate to those who actually grow it.
In addition, when our chocolate factory is built at Rabot Estate, further St Lucians will be drawn into the supply chain, adding value locally to the cocoa bean; chocolaterie workers, drivers, tour guides, engineers, support staff, will all be trained and developed.
Our other main focus for Engaged Ethics is in Ghana