Madagascar exports cocoa beans labelled « Cocoa Fine »
Madagascar produces only 6000 tons per year. Although cocoa beans production in the world equals 3,400,000 tons in 2014.
But the label “Cocoa Fine” allows to sell the product at a price twice as high as the world rate. The Big Island chosed quality of the cocoa beans rather than quantity. Without regret, quite the contrary.
DIANA and SAVA regions produce cocoa beans. We find those beans mainly in Ambanja, in the North West of the Island. Watered by the Sambirano River, it enjoys a warm climate and a favorable humidity for growing and producing the best cocoa beans in the world. Ambanja owes its micro climate, thanks to the presence of the mountainous massif of Tsaratanana. This highest summit of the island culminates at 2876 meters. The valley of the Sambirano River also produces coffee, many spices, vanilla, pepper, pink berries as well as plants for perfume, ylang ylang, vetiver and other patchouli.
Madagascar cocoa beans production
Cocoa beans production takes place all year long. And the most important harvests takes place in June-July and October-November.
Production initially focused in an area of less than 50km radius. A modest but not thin part composed of cocoa beans with clear lids said to be of high quality.
Madagascar currently promotes this product that has main varieties developed:
- – Criollo, also known as “light pod”
- – Forestaro or basic cocoa
- – Trinitario, hybrid of Criollo and Forestaro
« I do not even remember the taste of chocolate although it is made with what I plant ! The important thing for me is to sell my pods and save the industry » : said a farmer. More than 60% of the peasants in the Ambanja region earn their lives as cocoa farmers. Having a cocoa field remains a source of prestige for them. « Here we brush off, we bine, we fine, we rejuvenate the fields. A young plant takes about 5 years to produce its first pods. People must count between 6 and 8 years to reach its cruising production. »
HISTORY OF ORIGIN OF THE Madagascar COCOA BEANS
Foreigners introduced the 1st cocoa in Madagascar around 1900.
They planted the variety known as Criollo, a variety of cocoa with clear beans, pods small, very warty, purple red or orange, furrows deep, pronounced tip, sometimes crescent-shaped. Knowers recognize this variety as the best in quality, the finest, the most aromatic, sweet, fruity but also very fragile.
10 – 15 years later, farmers introduced Forastero cocoa trees also called TAMATAVE in Madagascar, quality. It classyfies itself as ordinary but more productive and more resistant.
The crossing of these two types, from which we have selected the best, gave another variety called Trinitario :
- – fine and aromatic quality of the first
- – strength, productivity and resistance of the second,
The high proportion of this type Trinitario (30%) in the Malagasy cocoa makes its reputation.
At the beginning, around 1900, cocoa came mainly from large colonial plantations in Madagascar, with a production of 120T / year.
EVOLUTION OF THE SECTOR
In the year 1976, Madagascar counted main large plantations of cocoa beans of around 650 tons per year with superior quality :
- cocoa prepared in conditions of optimum quality and following the International norms of export culture, going through different stages of preparation: the maintenance of the plants, the picking, bagging, transporting, bottling, fermentation, drying, sorting, packaging and storage.
Then the system of « collection » : logical continuation of a popularization initiated by various organizations in the sector, tried to involve the peasants in the production.
And in the years 1990 to 2002, large collection group could brew 3000 to 3500 tons per year: 70% of the total production of the time.
In the years 2004-2005, Madagascar introduced the bio-equitable quality. Volume production continues to increase and with the security qualitative.
Establishment of cocoa platform brings together all stakeholders concerned by the sector (Authorities, Exporters, Agencies support, peasants ..).
MAP, Madagascar Action Plan, states Malagasy roadmap in the economic development of the country :
Cocoa and Public- Private Partnership or PPP :
- More export to the world market;
- Increase in operating area of 1700Ha;
- European import of new cocoa nurseries for a new generation;
- Technical support from partner countries for the transfer of skills peasants and cocoa farmers;
- Various development projects with international organizations and NGOs including training, cooperatives …
- Malagasy cocoa: exceptional quality, world reputation: more acidic than others = related to the fermentation process but also to the peculiarity of the soil
- Certified organic plantations, do not use fertilizers or Chemicals: considerable advantage.
- Ranked among the best in the world, earned the label “cocoa fine “of the International Cocoa Organization, ICCO.
- What will allow Madagascar to benefit from a higher price in the global market.
Madagascar’s cocoa beans sector in good expansion
Evaluation made it difficult to have the right numbers in this sector in Madagascar. However, Ministry of Agriculture estimated that nearly 30,000 Malagasy people exploit small plantations of cocoa beans over an area of more than 15,000 hectares.
The production chain starts with these small producers. They sell their crops to collectors who supply the exporters. Although it is not at the beginning of this chain that the best benefits are found. In good years, 1 kg of dried cocoa beans costs around 4000 ariary, or 1.5euros.
Economic crisis impacts all sectors of the world. And concerted efforts between international organizations and the governments of producing and exporting countries takes an essential position.