At Nao, we have always been concerned about the ethics and issues related to chocolate production: traceability, pay, well-being of producers, etc. These themes are always at the top of the list when making decisions and have again induced us to start a project for the direct support of our producers in Peru.
The delivery of chocolate without any other agents
We already had the ambitious idea for quite some time of having a direct chocolate supply. And, in the summer of 2020, we could finally realise this project thanks to the contacts that we made with local producers!
We decided to go for a fruity, strong and creamy chocolate using beans that are cultivated in Peru in the Satipo and Ayacucho regions using a mixture of 70% Criollo beans with 30% Forastero and Trinitario beans.
Nao is now a certified direct importer that processes the beans into chocolate in Peru so that the local economy and skills can further develop and expand while the processing of the end product takes place in Belgium: an approach that produces a maximum added value to the entire supply chain in the production process.
The short supply chain is a guarantee for quality and transparency. It makes communication easier with those who are involved in the cocoa production and it gives us insight into the specific socio-economic reality that they have to deal with. During the preliminary discussions about a new 85% fondant chocolate, we became aware of the problems experienced by organic cocoa producers in Peru and decided to act as effectively as possible at our scale.
What is the impact in relation to Peruvian producers?
The organic cocoa production has become an important theme during the last few years for Peruvians. Many have switched to this cultivation in response to the growing export demand. Farmers, however, pay a price to switch to organic cacao. As a direct point of contact, we happily help 24 of our producers in financing the purchase of agricultural material to switch or start an organic cacao cultivation. These initial 24 partners will soon be followed by 18 more in the Satipo (Satipo, Porvenir and Iscozazin) and Ayacucho (Kimbiri, San Antonio and Selva de Oro) regions. The aim of the operation is to increase the working comfort by providing better tools.
Our financial contribution also ensures that training courses can be financed for our producers.
More information about the Satipo and Ayacucho regions
With a population of less than 200,000 inhabitants on an area of 19,000 km², the inhabitants of the Satipo region are mainly involved in agricultural activities producing coffee, bananas, oranges, papayas… and, of course, cocoa. The differences in altitude are quite impressive: from 200 m to nearly 5000 m. The landscapes ranging from the Amazon rainforest to glaciers are just as varied as the climate conditions.
This region in the southern central part of the country consists of a fertile valley surrounded by barren lands on the eastern flank of the Andes at an altitude of slightly less than 3,000 metres. Here too the socio-economic life is ruled by agriculture, but also light industry.
In 2020, we and our team undertook new steps to offer chocolate and a project that was as coherent as possible. We are aware that we can go even further and are therefore working hard on a global approach in relation to our activities where we always want to respect the entire supply chain from producer to consumer.
[Update – November 2021] Discover how be started going even further with our new chocolate from São Tomé in 2021. Our Peru 85% fondant chocolate bars, however, can still be bought so that we can continue to support Peruvian producers.