ON SITE CACAO PROCESSING CENTER
Getting Bocas Archipelago & Darklands’ cacao producers back to production, each indigenous community at a time.
BOCAS DEL TORO
Human and geographic challenge:
Darklands cacao producers are located in 16 to 24 kms from the nearest town to sell their cacao and only accessible by boat. The cacao producers population of Darklands are 80 % indigenous most of whom exist at poverty level. Apart from a few indigenous owned small stores selling rice and basic foods the nearest general food or supplies stores are at a transport cost of a half day salary. The majority of cacao producers travel by paddling dugout canoes. Darklands has no roads, travel by boat or foot is the only way.
Map By Bocas Del Toro Travel.
The Ngabe Indigenous Cacao Producers
An indigenous people in Panama who have gained some autonomy since 1997. Their population is estimated at about 155,000 people who live between Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí and Veraguas. The bulk of their resources come from food crops on the one hand and more specialized production like cocoa on the other.
Many cacao producers are analphabets. The Darklands Foundation in partnership with the Panamanian department of agriculture (MIDA) has designs a comprehensive curriculum on cacao production such as grafting, nursery and crop management and processing to local communities.
Why Cacao Crop?
To help indigenous to stay on their land so that they can continue their role of rainforest guardians.
In the Ngabe indigenous culture, cacao is a spiritual plant. It is the center of many of their rituals and ceremonies such as giving birth, wedding, chasing away bad spirits etc…
Fermentation is a critical moment of the cacao process, it represents 70% of the overall quality of chocolate.
Bocas del Toro being in an Equatorial climate, the drying process of the cacao beans can be challenging.
In Bocas del Toro, the drying process of cacao beans can take up to 10 days due to the weather condition. We can’t emphasis enough the need for adequate structures to enhance the quality of the product.
What Is The Finality Of The Project?
Empowering Local Communities Through Sustainable Cacao Farming. To Better Cacao Production In Order To Access Exportation Markets. To Foment Entrepreneurial Leadership. To Partner In The Preservation Of The Rainforest Through Cacao Production.