From cracking the cocoa bean, to sorting, and drying.
Cocoa farming is the pride and joy of the people of Sao Tome and Principe – the islands off the coast of West Africa.
Cocoa farmer, Fatima Horta, says being a small farmer, doesn’t mean you have to feel like one.
‘People talk about small farmers, but I consider myself a big farmer, a great farmer. I’m getting better and better and I like what I do.’ Fatima said.
This region exports around 820 tonnes of cocoa – netting almost $6 million a year.
The rich soils and ideal climate make it perfect for cocoa trees, as well as some other natures gifts.
One in ten plants here, are found nowhere else in the world.
There are also more unique bird species per square kilometre.
But despite it’s rich biodiversity, it’s one the world’s poorest countries and farmers struggling to make a living are clearing land in protected areas.
Obo Natural Park covers 30 per cent of the island.
Aurelio Rita, the park director, says he witnesses how farmers are threatening the area he is trying to protect.
‘If we do not start taking measures, very shortly they will enter the park and this will have very negative impacts.’ Aurelio says.
But organic chocolate could be the answer.
According to Euromonitor International, global organic chocolate sales are forecast to grow between 2 to 3 per cent per year, reaching $886 million by 2018.
Not only is organically-grown cocoa more lucrative, it’s grown under the shade of exisiting trees, making it kinder to the environment.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development began drumming up support for organic cocoa in 2002.
Organic farming co-op, CECAB, now provides training to farmers and has committed to buying all their produce.
Coordinator of the project, Victor Bonfim, expects that through this work, farmers will perserve the unique biodiversity of the islands.
‘I expect that within a few years, the population will be more aware, better educated and better trained about environmental issues.’ Victor said.