The distance from the cocoa farms of Yayra Glover Ltd. to our chocolate factory is quite short. After all, they are situated in the same region, Suhum, in eastern Ghana. However, on the way from the tree to the finished bar, there are many tests, inspections and other checkpoints which the cocoa beans have to pass. You can find out what these are here – step by step.
The harvest of the cocoa beans
As soon as the cocoa pods are ripe, they are harvested from the tree and split open. Inside are the cocoa beans which are surrounded by white pulp. The fresh cocoa beans are removed from the pot and collected on banana leaves. Wrapped in these, the beans are now fermenting for six to seven days. The process gives the bean its typical aroma and brown color. The cocoa beans are then dried in the sun for five to six days depending on the temperature. Normally, the average Ghanaian temperature is 32 degrees Celsius. The beans are then filled into bags.
Quality control by COCOBOD
Before the beans are sold, they get inspected by the Ghanaian cocoa authority COCOBOD. It takes random samples from each individual bag and checks the quality of the beans. Among other things, they make sure that the beans have been properly fermented and dried, that they do not have any abnormal scents or colors, that there are no insects or other undesirable components in the bags and that the cocoa beans are not broken or burnt. After a successful quality control, COCOBOD pays the organic cooperative Yayra Glover Ltd. the cocoa price we paid in advance and our cocoa premium of 600 USD per ton. In addition, COCOBOD receives the Living Income Differential (LID) of 400 USD to be passed on to the farmers through the cooperatives.
Processing at Chocomac
The conventional way of chocolate production would now be as follows: The dried cocoa beans are exported to Europe, where they are usually bought by middlemen, roasted and ground, and then given to the chocolate companies for final processing.
At fairafric, however, all these steps take place in Ghana. The beans are first sent for further processing to our partner company Chocomac, whose factory is less than two hours away from the farms. This is where the cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder are produced. Before and after production, the products are again carefully checked for residues, e.g. from pesticides or the machines. This also ensures that we maintain our high organic quality standards along the entire value chain. Only when these are met, the ingredients are used for chocolate production.
In our solar-powered factory, the processed cocoa beans are now finally turned into delicious chocolate. You can read about exactly how this happens in our Chocolate-Time blog post!
As you can see, a cocoa bean has to pass all kinds of tests on its way from tree to bar. By producing our chocolate in Suhum, Ghana, right next to the cocoa farms, we can save ourselves a lot of long distances. In addition, a significantly higher amount of value creation remains in the country of origin, as the intermediate products are also produced and tested in Ghana. Thanks to intensive quality controls along the entire production chain, our partners and we ensure that our chocolates not only have a great flavor in the end, but are also 100% organic and free of chemical residues, pesticides or other ingredients. To all those who are not yet convinced, we recommend to test our chocolates yourself!