The Democratic Republic of Congo possesses some of the most fertile soil in Africa that yields premium quality cocoa crops, but cocoa farmers have limited awareness of relevant good agricultural practices, and limited connection with the rest of the value chain:
« What’s my cocoa used for? I don’t know…to make clothes, or shoes? » - Cocoa farmer in Watalinga
In 2011 Eastern Congo Initiative partnered with Theo Chocolate to give cocoa farmers in eastern Congo access to the international market and to increase the quality of life for their families and communities.
To date :
- Theo Chocolate has sourced 1,600 tons of Congolese cocoa from the small-holder farmers ECI supports, making exclusive Congo bars featuring Congolese cocoa, vanilla, and coffee;
— that’s enough to make 15 million chocolate bars.
- Theo’s purchase has positively impacted over 20,000 people living in the region, increasing household incomes and improving access to vital services.
- Congolese cocoa represents 70% of Theo Chocolate's total cocoa supply and is in every Theo product from chocolate bars to peanut butter cups.
Meet Watalinga’s Cacao Farmers
Mastaki was no longer able to give birth following multiple complications from childbirth, including fistula. ECI partner the Program for the Promotion of Primary Health Care offered her the medical assistance she needed to heal. Today, Mastaki is a leader in her community, informing others of the importance of maternal and post-natal health practices in her village Kikingi: “I used to be looked down upon by my family because of my health issues. Today I am known in my village and people count on me. I am feeling part of a community again.
As the demand for cocoa increases on the global market, more emphasis is placed on identifying new sources, and Congo has great potential to meet consumer demand.
Read more about our partnership with Theo Chocolate here and chocolate’s transformative potential for eastern Congo here.
Watch this video to find our more about ECI's work in Congo's cocoa: