About The Region
Tanzania is world famous for Mount Kilimanjaro and for its national parks, but it also has a long history with cocoa, which was introduced to the country in the 1880s. We work with beans grown in Mbingu Village (“mbingu” means “heaven” in Kiswahili), in the Kilombero Valley, a region historically known to be one of the lowest-paid regions in the country for their cocoa crops. Because there was only one single buyer within this region for many years, farmers were left with no choice around setting prices for their cocoa, and commodity exporters focused on volume meant farmers had no incentive to cultivate product quality. Therefore, over time this region became known for low-quality cocoa and a poor reputation around post-harvest practices.
Our partner Kokoa Kamili is working to address this problem and change the game for farmers in Tanzania.
About Kokoa Kamili
In 2013, Simran Binda and Brian LoBue decided to use their backgrounds in international development to make an impact in Tanzania. They founded Kokoa Kamili for three reasons:
“1. We believe that farmers should be rewarded fairly for their hard work
2. We believe that Tanzanian cocoa has the potential to be some of the best in the world
3. We believe in the power of cocoa to bring real economic development to rural Tanzanian farmers”
This has become a kind of mantra at Kokoa Kamili, which is not only a central fermentary but also so much more. Located in the heart of Tanzania, Kokoa Kamili buys wet beans from more than 4,000 smallholder farmers in this region and pays the highest price for cacao in all of Tanzania. Kokoa Kamili handles all the fermentation and drying steps of cacao processing, allowing the producing farmers to focus their attention on increasing their yield and proper harvesting techniques. With such close attention put on post-harvest practices, these beans are now considered to be the highest-quality beans in the region. Further increasing their environmental and social impact, Kokoa Kamili's fermentary is run on solar energy and is also responsible for distributing cacao tree seedlings to farmers. It’s helped plant more than 330,000 trees since 2015. Planting more trees, growing more cocoa, and helping more farmers, Kokoa Kamili is transforming the Tanzanian cacao market into a region of social empowerment and environmental regeneration.
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