Mirror Reflections – São Tomé and Príncipe & Russia


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Life in São Tomé and Príncipe

Introduction of co-operative cocoa production

Acting upon a request from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the French organic chocolate corporation Kaoka undertook an audit of the country’s cocoa industry around the turn of the millennium. The audit came back with promising feedback determining that “the rich genetic origin of São Tomé cocoa varieties could produce superior aromatic cocoa beans that would fetch higher and more stable prices than ordinary cocoa”. It was also found that “traditional farming methods could be adapted easily to organic production. By combining organic production and fair trade principles, cocoa farmers could greatly boost their income.”

In light of these findings, the Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme (PAPAFPA), under the funding of IFAD, embarked on a three-year project involving 11 communities and 500 farmers in 2000. Under Kaoka’s supervision, local farmers were assisted to “make the transition from producing medium-quality to high-quality cocoa beans that are fermented and dried”.

Encouraged by its success, similar projects have been initiated within the country. Such initiatives have led to exponential growth in the exportation of cocoa from the islands. In 2004, for example, approximately 700 farmers were producing, and selling locally, 50 tons of cocoa beans. By 2010, the impact of the project was evident as close to 2,200 farmers were exporting 600 tons of fair trade certified cocoa. Co-operative cocoa production allowed for a more cost-effective method of production for farmers, while the certification of the cocoa as free trade has meant that it can be sold at a premium price with farmers receiving around double the price for their dry cocoa compared to the unprocessed beans they previously sold locally.

The project has been deemed to be sustainable with Andrea Serpagli, IFAD’s São Tomé and Príncipe Country Programme Manager, explaining “with a project horizon of 2015, the system of organic and fair trade cocoa production, linked in with premium-paying commercial buyers, will become self-sustaining”………..for more see here.

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Golden Bay, Iturup Island Photo by: Alexey Kharitonov

Life in Russia

Russia promising for Chocolatiers

The global chocolate market shows stable development and is estimated to grow at an average of 2 percent annually over the next five years, according to a KPMG study entitled “The chocolate of tomorrow: What today’s market can tell us about the future.”
The study shows that Russia is one of the most promising emerging markets for chocolatiers. Its market is worth more than $8 billion and is expected to grow 45 percent by 2016. “The degree to which consumers are moving up to products with higher price tags is motivating producers to increase their output of handmade chocolates,” said Georgy Pataraya, Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG Russia and CIS
By comparison, U.S. consumers display an unwavering demand for high-quality products at affordable prices, as well as wild flavors such as bacon or wasabi. The overall drive toward healthy eating has yet to become a factor for chocolate consumption in the United States. Meanwhile, in Western Europe – which is still the largest chocolate market in the world – chocolatiers are increasingly concerned with the health of their consumers. In 2011, 10 percent of the new chocolate products launched in Western Europe were marketed as vegetarian, 7 percent as free from additives and 7 percent as satisfying organic food regulations

Psychological research indicates that chocolate consumers consider the confection to be an unhealthy, yet extremely tasty treat – it is most frequently an impulse buy.
Chocolate consumption is expected to increase over the next one to two years and be driven by rising disposable incomes and expanding consumer lending, said Andrei Korkunov, the founder of the Odintsovskaya Confectionery. “I believe in the Russian market. Russians are being spooked with a crisis all the time, but life goes on…………for more see here.

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