SIerra LEone couple 800

FAST FACTS 

  • Location: Gola Rainforest, East Sierra Leone
  • Founded: 2016 
  • Members: 1122 farmers in 2 primary societies, 508 in Gaura, 614 in Tunkoya. Estimated to expand to 2,000 members by the end of 2018 
  • First traded with Twin: 2017 
  • Post-harvest process: Farm fermented cocoa dried on raised, covered tables. Centralised processing at village level to be trialled in 2017 
  • Varieties: Forastero (Amelonado and Upper Amazon) 
  • Certifications: None currently held but internal control system is aligned with certification standards. No artificial fertilisers or pesticides used in production 
  • Harvest: September to February 
  • Production capacity: Currently 12.5MT with projected growth to 62.5MT by end 2018 
  • Flavour profile: spice, cinnamon, fudge 

The Gola Rainforest Cocoa farmers formed an association in 2016 and exported their first container of premium cocoa for the specialty market in 2017. Prior to the establishment of the producer organisation, farmers were selling to local traders at low prices and unable to harness the potential quality and associated higher prices for their cocoa. 

Member farmers live on the edge of the protected Gola rainforest, and have borne the devastating effects of both civil war and Ebola. Joining forces with each other enables individual farming families to access training on sustainable farming, to standardise fermenting processes and creates the ability to sell collectively. 

The producer organisation buys the cocoa in an open and transparent way which is a big change for many farmers. Juma Koroma, a member farmer notes "Before I joined, I sold my cocoa to traders and was never allowed to see the scales or get a receipt. Now I have been taught how to use scales, and I know how much I will get for my cocoa, and I trust who I am selling to."