Manifesto Cacao Co Making Chocolate and Empowering Cocoa Farmers
Written by Estanich Grant Pinilla CEO, Manifesto Cacao Co - Fine Colombian Cocoa & Bean to Bar Chocolate
Manifesto Cacao Co, a Bogota-based company producing fine bean to bar chocolate as a validation result of what we do on the fields, we have been focusing on developing real value propositions within small coops and farmers collectives, building technical and business internal capacities, making forest conservation efforts and agreements that are fully transparent and traceable at the farm level.
Our company was founded by a husband/wife conservation activists team, with a passionate multidisciplinary think- thanks coming from the non-profit, public, and private sectors. Estanich: Cocoa expert, chocolatier, engineer specialized in Value chain creation; Johanna, forestry biotech engineer, Rural community development expert. Our complimentary experiences background and passions strengthen the backbone of our cocoa dream. We have achieved to transform our passion into shared value
We have a rebellious vision of spreading the power of working together with the farmers as a team, that's why we've committed to tackling inefficiencies in the cocoa chain by transforming from the ground up delicious products that boost local direct trade and community consumption, vertical integration amongst stakeholders, and the creation of trustworthy relationships.
We foster value chains within chocolate makers, coops, and rural smallholder farmers, building technical & business capacities and we are constantly looking for partners in every step of the value chain that are looking as well to partner up with authentic peers to rely and trust on the fields, while they obtain, responsible, transparent, traceable and healthier raw materials and products with better ingredients, we develop special batches for chocolate makers abroad focusing not only in quality from a technical standpoint but also from an organoleptic and innocuity curatorial approach.
More than 52K families of rural smallholders in Colombia are economically dependent on cocoa, they live on less than 2USD/day and more than 70% of their income comes from cocoa crops. As in Colombia, all over Latin America, the incipient cocoa chains are characterized by a generalized lack of incentives that inspire a sense of ownership or promote commitment. Most of these small farms producing cocoa have limited access to resources or markets organized or differentiated, which translates into low productivity, quality, and prices, among others.
It‘s not a secret that worldwide the cocoa value chain is one of the less responsible ones, although Colombia has a great potential for renowned quality beans, farmers are struggling to survive with low prices, productivity, and demotivation. Manifesto found effective approaches to address together those constraints and is paving its road with chocolate
In order to highlight the best of Colombian cocoa genetics in different regions of the country where our hidden genetic gems are still undervalued, we have chosen to work with some of the communities with the biggest potential, but as well the ones with the biggest challenges, some of them because they are located in faraway regions that are disconnected from the productive grid of the cocoa value chain, with beautiful genetics but with too little or no infrastructure, capacity, nor skills on how to achieve consistent quality, volume or access to differentiated markets.
To achieve that, we develop together with our allies interventions like farmer field schools, reforestation efforts, germplasm banks to preserve and understand our endemic diversity, and technical assistance in good agricultural practices, harvest, and post harvest management of the farms, at the end of this localized interventions we build and develop flavor and unique profiles for each community based on their own richness, consolidate their practices and try to connect them with industry counterparts that are willing to tell their story and recognize their efforts transforming their beans in delicious chocolate goods!
Most of these constraints are primarily related to their lack of understanding regarding their cultivars and varieties, and of course how to manage them not only from an agricultural perspective but also from a market-driven point of view that allows them to unlock the potential their crops have to enable change at different levels, starting from an economic and social perspective and as well as a catalyst to preserve their biodiversity and environmental resources.
Our company has been built on integral ethical responsibility and defined by our team passion for the cocoa communities and the firm conviction in its potential. Farmers in remote areas require authentic, close, strong, and meaningful relationships, so we aim to supplement them in the same way with our suppliers, customers, and allies.
Every bar and cocoa bag from our collective has a traceability code that allows you to track at the farmer level through our website traceability system, who grew the batch of beans for your chocolate, when, where, and how.