Nestled in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains is a stretch of lush volcanic soil shared by more than 900 small farmers. On their 1-3 hectare fields they mainly grow cocoa as a source of income.
As is so often the case in Africa, cocoa is a wild mix of different original varieties. Similar to hisneighbor in the Congo
the cocoa from the Rwenzori region in Uganda shows strong traces ofAmelonado
on. These are joined by genetic holdovers from the upper Amazon and Trinitario.
the Latitude Trade Company, our local partner, works closely with Ugandan cocoa farmers to educate them in the principles of organic agroforestry, helping them increase their yields and thereby elevate the economy of the entire region.
Cocoa is only harvested 5-6 months a year. This means that this income will be needed to cover school fees, groceries, unforeseen health care expenses and other household expenses in the remaining months. To address this challenge, Latitude offers off-season microcredits that can be repaid during the cocoa season.
The project helps smallholder farmers to establish community-based nurseries and agroforestry systems using the best local cocoa varieties blended with vanilla, macadamia nuts and native wood species. The agroforestry fields act as buffer zones for the forest, a habitat for elephants, chimpanzees and colobus monkeys.
Origin and Farmers: Small farmers on the border of Ruwenzori forest, of which more than 50% are women.
Harvest time: The main harvest runs from September to January and the minor harvest is from March to April.
Fermentation & Drying: Centrally fermented for 5.5-6.5 days, slow sun drying, hand sorted and sieved.
Cocoa farmer Safuroza Butamanya talks about herself and cocoa cultivation
Thanks to Original Beans
All photos as well as the basic data and direct interview quotes were kindly provided 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 smallholders 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.