Republic of Togo
Hand-Peeled Whole Cocoa Nibs
Adding value to cacao beans at the origin
Visiting Chocotogo in Togo
Ryou visited Togo to visit a cacao supplier and a social bsuiness partner of BMP; Chocotogo.
Togo is an extremely under-rated high-quality cacao origin being eclipsed by two neighbouring huge producers- Ghana and Ivory Coast and the efforts given by the cacao industry in addition to individual efforts of collectors, processors and exporters are significant.
This report focuses on learnings and findings obtained during visiting Chocotogo who supplies hand-peeled roasted cocoa beans to BMP.
A social business established by young Togolese entrepreneurs
Chocotogo, the only entity in Togo which processes cocoa beans into chocolates and hand-peeled roasted cocoa beans was established by 6 young forward-thinking entrepreneurs in 2013 after completing chocolatier training in Italy. Chocotog’s main objective is to generate profits from selling the products to invest in farmers and women to improve the quality of life.
Throughout the supply chain from purchase of raw cocoa beans to packaging of chocolate tablets, Chocotogo employs approximately 50 ladies and most of the jobs are created in a processing facility based in Kpalime (pronounced as Pa-li-meh) the fourth largest city of Togo where women have huge difficulties on earning cash due to lack of jobs in the town.
Thanks to its social vision, innovative hand-peeled roasted cocoa beans and uniqueness of story, Chocotogo won Young Agribusiness Entrepreneurs Innovation Award at an expo in Turin in 2016.
Hand-peeled Roasted Cocoa Beans
What is so special about Chocotogo is that they produce innovative hand-peeled roasted cocoa beans which have unlimited potential of further processing such as caramelized whole cocoa beans and chocolate-coated cocoa beans just naming a few. Putting a whole cocoa bean on top of the chocolate cake or serving the cocoa bean with a cup of coffee also sound like great ideas.
Raw cocoa beans first go through a sorting process to sort out damaged beans. After being roasted and cooled down, the skins are removed by about 40 ladies. After a quality check conducted by Chocotogo staff, the beans are transported to capital Lome for re-heating and packaging for export.
Cocoa beans are sourced from a cocoa cooperative who actively provides quality awareness workshops and assistance to improve the quality of cocoa beans to their members. Chocotogo also provides feedback on quality to the cooperative to keep improving the quality of cocoa beans and pay a premium price as a reward of exceptional quality.
In addition, When Chocotogo travels to meet cocoa farmers, they bring the chocolates made with cocoa beans produced by the farmers and of course, farmers have huge smiles on their face then. This is purely the benefit of having a chocolatier in a cocoa producing country, isn’t it? It is very common that cocoa growers never tasted chocolates in their life and thus, they are not aware of the quality and taste of cocoa beans that they produce.
Chocotogo has been doing fantastic works in managing the supply chain, making sure everybody who is involved in the business is happy to work with them and bringing still small yet meaningful impacts to the cocoa growing communities. But as is always the case, there are still rooms for improvements and they need someone to push their back to do what they are doing better and bigger. BMP shall accompany their growth as a buyer-with-care and a sales partner.
Do you want to know how our hand-peeled roasted cocoa beans are made in Togo?
Watch the 2-minute short movie below.
What's the Bigger Picture?
6 Countries, 7,000 Farmers, 300,000 Euro
Since August 2017, BMP has been working with local social business partners in 6 countries and integrated approximately 7,000 coffee and cacao growers to the global supply chain. The trade value we have facilitated has reached 300,000 Euro as of June 2019.