Growing cocoa is no simple task, which is why we are working very hard as cocoa farmers to help improve our farms. 90% of the world’s cocoa beans are harvested on small, family-run farms with less than two hectares of land and an average yield of just 600-800 kg per year. And most of this cocoa comes from West Africa.

Low productivity, low farmer incomes and limited development in farming communities has created a cycle that must be broken for cocoa farming to be sustainable.

Cocoa is also a delicate, sensitive plant. It requires high rainfall and temperatures to grow, as well as rainforest trees to offer shade and protection from too much light and damage caused by wind. Because cocoa farms are sensitive to this type of climate, they can only flourish in a narrow band of countries between 20 degrees north and south of the equator.

As the one of the world’s largest cocoa farmers, we have a stake in protecting these origins. We do so through Cocoa Life, which is active across all major cocoa origins from Africa.


As farmers we protect Cocoa from wind and sun, fertilize the soil, and watch for signs of disease or distress. With proper care, most cocoa trees yield pods by the fourth or fifth year and can continue for another 30 years.

A typical pod contains 30 to 40 beans and there are about 30 pods per tree; approximately 400 dried beans are required to make one pound of cocoa.


Most countries have two periods of peak production per year: A main harvest, and a smaller harvest.

We use long-handled steel tools to reach the pods and cut them without wounding the soft bark of the tree. Farmers collect the pods in baskets.

Fermentation and drying

Post-harvest processing has the biggest impact on cocoa quality and, consequently, on cocoa taste.

We remove the beans from the pods, pack them into boxes or heaps them into piles, then covers them with mats or banana leaves for three to seven days. The layer of pulp that naturally surrounds the beans heats up and ferments the beans, which enhances the cocoa flavor. The beans are then dried in the sun for several days.

Selling, transporting, and shipping

The dried beans are packed into sacks, and we sell our product to a buying station.

The buyer transports the sacks to an exporting company where the sacks are inspected, put into burlap, sisal, or plastic bags, and transported to the exporter’s warehouse, where the beans are stored until they’re shipped to a manufacturer.