Chocolate has been woven into the indigenous culture of Brazil since the age of Mesoamerican civilization. Colonization, however, resulted in exploitation on a grand scale in the industry, and by the 1980s, Brazil was the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. It was then that a fungal disease called Witches’ Broom sent shock waves through the industry -- hitting farmers the hardest.
Today, the nation is the 7th largest producer worldwide, yielding about 200 thousand tons each year. In recent years, efforts to use agroforestry techniques to grow cocoa on degraded pasture land in the Amazon, is helping to restore one of the most critical ecosystems in the world. This approach also provides alternate sources of income for farmers, improving their quality of life as a result. Our partner, Valrhona, makes such commitments to sustainability and community development their top concern when working with producers.
THE PLANTATION: M. LIBANIO AGRICOLA S.A.
Manoel Libânio da Silva Filho created this company in 1922. 8 plantations, 6700 acres, this giant is an example of sustainable development since its creation. Rainforest Alliance Certified, the property produces high quality cocoa with exemplary respect for the primary forest and good agricultural practices. Valrhona, a tireless pioneer of the CSR approach, has been sourcing from the estate for some 20 years and signed a long-term partnership in 2013.
PHOTOGRAPHIES: LAURENT VU FOR VALRHONA