Monday, April 30, 2018

Cacao: Chocolate from the Amazon

We sell chocolate to help support our student scholarship program for indigenous youth.

The business of cacao
We also see chocolate production as a possible long-term solution to the lack of employment in indigenous communities of the Amazon.

Members of the Association of Cacao Growers of
San Francisco, Amazonas, Colombia

The director of Amazon Pueblo with a cacao seedling.
Why is it a solution?
  1. Cacao, the tree from which chocolate is made, may have originally developed in this area of the Amazon (about 400 km upriver from Leticia).  It grows very well in our area.
  2. There may soon be a world-wide chocolate shortage.  With the combination of climate change (drought) and mismanagement in chocolate producing countries, we may be seeing a chocolate shortage in the coming years.  
  3. Our region of the Amazon IS NOT forecast to have a decrease in water due to climate change.
  4. We have the water, the climate, a willing workforce, and the waterway of the Amazon River to economically transport our chocolate.
So, we have been encouraging the people in indigenous villages of the Colombian Amazon to grow cacao, the tree from which we produce chocolate.  It takes three years from planting cacao until it produces the beans from which we can make the chocolate.

The pods
The trees take about three years of growth before they produce cacao pods.  Each pod can contain up to 50 cacao beans.  During this time they need at least partial shade.  Large, old growth trees among the cacao trees are an excellent source of this shade.  Other crops like plantain may also grow along side the young trees.  Properly managed cacao plantations encourage healthy cacao and overall forest biodiversity.

The growers inspecting the trees.

Removing the seeds from the pods.

Empty pods.
After being grown in the villages the cacao beans are transported downriver to the city of Leticia, were they are processed into chocolate by Makambun Chocolates.

Cacao ready to toast

The grinder
For the future
We are thinking about the future.  We teach and help the students in indigenous villages how to plant, grow, and tend cacao.  In three years time the cacao seedlings in the pictures below will be producing pods.

Putting cacao seed into seedling bags

Seedlings ready to plant
Chocolate Now
I could say that in the future your chocolate bar may come from the Amazon.  But the future is NOW!

The chocolate that I am bringing back to Maine this June.  We have two
varieties, milk chocolate and macambo chocolate.
This is Amazonian, indigenous grown and produced, organic chocolate.  This summer it will be in Midcoast Maine, and if it sells well, hopefully beyond.

It is produced by Makambun Chocolates (Arcecio Rendon is the owner), in Leticia, Colombia.  The cacao used by Arcecio is grown in the indigenous community of San Francisco, about 70 km upriver from Leticia.

A graphic of our business model:

Click on the above image and it may enlarge
Please visit us

Amazon Pueblo has published a website  called Amazon Cacao to help promote and sell the chocolate.  It may be found at: .

We also have a new Amazon Cacao Facebook business page:

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