Cocoa is used to make cocoa liquor and butter and is the main component of high quality chocolate. The cocoa tree comes from Central America and its fruit has been eaten by man for more than 4,000 years.
Farmers here grow a mix of hybrids with maraños (Brazil-Peru), amelonado (Brazil-Guyana) and Iquitos
We are constantly striving to improve our systems and quality, as well as initiate cocoa growing in more areas of East Africa to include more farmers and supply better cocoa.
Nestled between the Rwenzori mountains and Virunga National Park, and virtually cut off from the rest of Congo, this area produces some of East Africa’s finest quality cocoa with a similar palette to that of West Africa.
Esco Kivu came here in the early 2000s following our successful re-establishment in Beni and now more than 6,000 farmers grow and ferment fantastic quality cocoa which we process at our Nobili factory.
Our farmer and community engagement here include the construction and rehabilitation of 5 primary schools and 4 secondary schools as well as building Kamango University through the Fair for Life initiative (read more).
Starting from modest beginnings in 2000 following the civil unrest of the 1990’s, Esco Kivu started to promote cocoa as an alternative to Robusta coffee which was being decimated by fusarium wilt disease. Beni is a vibrant town in Eastern Congo, and now the headquarters of Esco Kivu where we have our largest cocoa processing unit.
We work with farmers stretching from Mambasa in the West to the Rwenzori area in the East, with our storekeepers and drivers having to negotiate some of the world’s worst roads and most difficult conditions. Overcoming these difficulties is one of the reasons we have been able to have such a positive impact in the area.
In Beni we have also been instrumental in establishing a primary school called the Academie Bilangue du Congo (ABC!).