Location: A small island off the West coast of Africa. With an ancient volcano in its center, the cocoa fields are organized in old portuguese “Rosas” in the lower outer parts of the island.
Accessibility: Very good. The island is so small, every farm can be reached within a few hours. The decades of Portuguese colonization have left an old network of roads that can still be used with 4x4 cars.
Organic status: The extremely fertile soil of the island combined to poor access to imported agro-products has resulted in a very marginal usage pesticides and fertilizers. Most cocoa is organic by default.
Technical knowledge of the farmers: very poor. Very paradoxical in the so called “chocolate island”, most farmers have never got a chance to improve their knowledge on cocoa farming techniques such as grafting. As a result, the averages yields per hectares is rather low and the productivity is vulnerable to the weather patterns.
Average cocoa farm size: small. (1 to 2 hectares). Average yield low (150kg/ha)
Amount of farmers reached by TTF: about 50 farmers from 3 communities
Cultural particularity: Since the beginning of the cocoa story of São Tomé, the farmers have always delivered fresh cocoa to bigger centralized modules where the fermentation and drying was done, rather than having each farmer doing his own post-harvest operations.
Cocoa journey: The cocoa is first loaded in São Tomé port on a barge because the port is not deep enough for the container ship. The containers are transferred onto a ship which makes a first stop in Lisbon before continuing its journey to Rotterdam port.
Nice to know: Sao Tome is known as the “Chocolate Island”