Bolivia: Wild cocoa from the Bolivian jungle
|Project location:||Itenez and Mamoré regions, Bolivia|
|Consortium:||Pronatec AG , Rainforest Exquisite Products SA|
|Project Budget:||Euro 503,000|
|External financing:||50% grant funding by PSI|
|Project period:||January 2010 – June 2012|
Rainforest Exquisite Products SA (REPSA) from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, is nearing completion of its project to improve the collection system for wild cocoa beans that are harvested from the Bolivian jungle and end up in some of the finest Swiss chocolate products.
About 10 years ago, REPSA pioneered the export of cocoa beans collected from wild trees in the Bolivian jungle. The beans were purchased by Felchlin, a Swiss chocolate maker, which was interested to introduce a special line of wild harvest chocolate products. The company had to adapt its production process to handle the wild beans which are much smaller than cultivated cocoa beans. Wild cocoa beans fetch a price that is twice the world market price for ordinary beans. This reflects the hard work that goes into collecting the beans from the thick jungle, the small volumes that can be harvested, the low proportion of beans that meet Swiss quality standards and the costly export from what some of the most logistically challenged locations in the world.