Cocoa was introduced in Fiji in 1880 with several varieties from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Trinidad. The modern development of its cultivation started in the 1960s from the government’s efforts to establish cocoa as a smallholder crop to be interplanted with coconut. Exports of Fijian cocoa increased considerably in the 1980s until cocoa production’s demise following a 1987 military coup and the following economic contraction.
In 2012, Fijian native Arif Khan was looking to get involved in Fiji’s agriculture sector and work with smallholder farmers in rural areas. After tasting some chocolate made from several of Fiji’s “passionate” cacao farmers, he was impressed by the distinctive flavor profile. He moved back to Fiji to work on a sustainable and market-driven revival of Fiji's cocoa industry.
Cacao Fiji works with rural, smallholder cocoa farmers to provide market access and technical support, They buy from farmers in areas of high poverty and high unemployment, to help increase incomes and improve standards of living. They also help farmers to care for their farms and plant new cocoa trees in ways that minimize environmental impact, and improve food security and biodiversity with intercropping.
They heap fresh cacao into 4-tier, hardwood boxes for fermentation. They closely monitor the process over the next 5-6 days, rotating the beans daily. Once perfectly fermented, they are sun-dried on decks for about one week. The dried cocoa beans are then hand sorted into protective grain sacks for exportation. With their emphasis on excellence in every aspect of production, Cacao Fiji takes rightful pride in leading the revival of Fiji’s unique cocoa production. This is why they are one of the few cocoa bean suppliers we can trust in making our small batch chocolate bars.
Read more about Cacao Fiji on their webpage at www.cacaofiji.com.
Find our products made from Cacao Fiji’s beans here.