The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia is a world of contrasts. Emerging from pristine rainforest is the snow-capped peak of Pico Simon Bolivar - the highest peak in the northern Andes. Dense cloud forests proliferate on its slopes, wild rivers shoot down from its icy heights and slowly but surely become leisurely watercourses that flow into the Caribbean, among other places, on lonely beaches, where the endangered green turtle lays its eggs. This area is particularly worthy of protection because of its outstanding biodiversity and because it offers a home to so many rare animals.
„The Sierra Nevada feeds the entire surrounding area with water in all four directions, which is why we call this area the heart of the world. It is a source of fresh water and fresh air for the whole world and it is our responsibility to protect and keep the landscape alive..“
Earlier settlers mistakenly thought that the cacao varietyBunsi with their unusual, white beans and the very unusual-looking cocoa pods was attacked by a disease and therefore felled the old cocoa trees. Luckily some haveBunsis survived in the shadow of the wild and the Arhuacos have recently been able to start harvesting this precious cacao again. you name him„Businchari“, which means something like sunrise or new beginning.
Nowadays they areBunsi and the other localsBunshari-Cocoa threatened by the modern hybrid cocoa boom in South America, where a homogeneous selection of non-native, robust cocoa hybrids are predominantly used to achieve high yields.
This cocoa grows from the coastal forest and the lower highlands to an altitude of 800 meters. Sometimes it takes up to 10 hours on horseback for the Arhuaco to bring their cocoa from the depths of the forest to the nearest road.
State-of-the-art fermentation and drying systems from the experts atCocoa de Colombiaon the cocoa beans that are still wet (wet means the beans are still encased in the pulp of the cocoa fruit in which they are fermented). The dealers ofn Cocoa de ColombiaBuy the cocoa beans from the Arhuaca and ferment them gently by closely monitoring the pH, Brix and temperature of the fermenting beans.
„It is important to us to respect our cocoa growing traditions. We're not interested in modern cocoa hybrids, it just doesn't fit with our vision of sustainable agriculture. We're interested in quality, not necessarily quantity, so we're looking for partners who support that. Our agricultural practices must be subject to the spiritual guidance of the Mom, our spiritual guides. Everything we grow is organic and we don't force nature to produce more than it would produce on its own.“
The Arhuaco see themselves as the elder brothers of the world and wholeheartedly believe that it is their responsibility to nurture the heart of the world and thereby maintain the balance of our earth. The Arhuacos are descendants of the great Tayrona civilization, known for their goldwork and architecture, and for giving their name to the famous Tayrona National Park, located just next door.det.
environmental protection measures
On the same land where coca and marijuana not long ago fueled and funded the violence of Colombia's drug war, cocoa is now the symbol of peace for the Arhuaco people and their neighbors. In 2007, the Arhuaco build their first village on the coast,Katansama.
„Our forests help us protect the heart of the world and keep the earth in balance..“ Hernan Villafaña, Arhuaco Cocoa Guide
Some of the actions implemented on-site using Original Beans are:
- Research and mapping of flavor cocoas in the Arhuaco area
- Set up nurseries for these cocoas and for native wood species
- “Establish cocoa libraries that act as a genetic databasen
- Build a rainforest-friendly land use model and make it available to the public
- Educate locals on cocoa bean fermentation and drying, organic farming and pest control
- Support the preservation of pristine rainforest areas through nature conservation agreements
Start a high school demonstration farm in Bunkwimake attended by 150 children
In 2019, for example, the following goals were achieved with the help of the Arhuaco cocoa project:
|Purchase of cocoa in
Improved standard of living for
154 cocoa farmers
Organic management of
254 acres of land
Afforestation & active protection of
503 tons of Co2
Thanks to Original Beans
All photos as well as the basic data and direct interview quotes with the Arhuaco were kindly provided to us by Jan Schubert fromoriginal beans made available.original beans is both a chocolate brand and a now significant cocoa bean importer and Jan travels around South America on their behalf,
to set up projects with small farmers and local partners on site and to develop long-term partnerships. We buy our cocoa beans directly from Original Beans, who set the highest sustainability standards for their cocoas, which go far beyond organic certification.
You can the cocoahere order.