- The Cocoa Flavor Map, emerged in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 2017 with Lutheran World Relief. In 2019, LWR added this tool to the cocoa component of MOCCA,,developing new profiles in Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru.
MOCCA is a 7-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through its Food for Progress Program, which seeks to improve agricultural productivity and expand trade in agricultural products. The MOCCA project is being executed by a consortium led by TechnoServe. Lutheran World Relief leads the cocoa activities.
Organic cocoa is a health food native to South America. The Peruvian Amazon, more than a thousand kilometers from Lima the capital city, is home to cocoa that, in addition to being organic,delights with its wide range of flavors. Cooperativa CEPROAA, illustrates this, since with the support of MOCCA and the Flavor Map tool, it has opened up new markets in Belgium and the United States.
A good starting point and market differential, is the fact that CEPROAA, produces organic cocoa, but it has been thanks to the Flavor Map, that the cooperative has been able to optimize its harvest and post-harvest practices, establishing handling and fermentation protocols for the development of unique flavor profiles and standardized quality.
“Thanks to the Flavor Map, we have increased our sales volumes and we have 2 customers who love, our cocoa for its quality,” expressed Cily Diaz Sanchez, CEPROAA Manager
One of the practices implemented was the classification and application of cocoa fermentation protocols by zones, since previously, regardless of origin, all cocoa was mixed at the collection center. “Now we work with cocoa separately and apply differentiated fermentation protocols,” she added.
Organic cocoa is considered a superfood because it is an excellent source of minerals – magnesium, iron, manganese and chromium – as well as B vitamins and has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This practice has impacted quality, which is now rewarded with better prices and purchasing contracts. Through MOCCA, the Flavor Map promotes the more than 85 profiles that have been developed in different countries among international buyers. This is how CEPROAA, connected with TCHO a U.S. company, which in 2022 placed a first order of 12 tons and by 2023 has already reached 50 tons. While the Belgium company Silva Cacao, increased its purchase from 500 kilos in 2022, to 2800 kilos in 2023.
“These are customers who reward quality by paying better prices,” Diaz expressed, and this has been a benefit for producers who sell to CEPROAA.
“We assure a market”
Eleuterio Constantino Aguilar, a 51 year old CEPROA member, started as an organic cocoa producer in 2014 and assures that one of the biggest benefits is the stability that the cooperative offers him.
“If we sell in the local market, prices vary and it is difficult to plan; while with CEPROA, we set a price from January to December, which is sometimes double the market value, then, for me to know that I have a guaranteed market and a price, gives me greater stability and certainty of my income,” expresses a very satisfied Constantino.
At the Coop level, the increase in sales and income has allowed members to comply with the 20% profit reserve regulation, and in the short term, they hope to be able to acquire the property in which they currently operate, while Don Eleuterio intends to expand his cocoa planting area from 3 hectares to 5 hectares in the near future.