UN initiative in Sao Tome and Principe leads to rise in cocoa production

25 January 2011

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 25 Jan – The United Nations initiative underway in Sao Tome and Principe has made it possible to increase cocoa production from 50 tons in 2004 to 600 tons in 2010, according to the director of British organisation Cafédirect.

Anne MacCraig, who recently travelled to the archipelago to analyse the progress of the UN initiative in partnership with her organisation, said that, thanks to new methods the producers are now able to benefit from a price for their cocoa that is around five times higher.

Before the start of this project in 2004, Sao Tome produced just 50 tons of cocoa and production has since increased to 600 tons of organically certified cocoa, which is channelled to fair trade markets.

In 1998 there was a drop in the world price of cocoa and for countries such as Sao Tome and Principe this had a huge impact on the economy, leading to producers losing confidence in cocoa as a source of income.

Based on a study carried out by a French company producers realised that if they produced organic cocoa they could get better prices for it, and the UN/Cafédirect initiative led to cooperatives being set up and the introduction of more modern methods of processing cocoa. (macauhub)