Imagine working in a factory all your life without ever seeing or trying the product you made! Cocoa farmers all over the world grow and harvest cacao which is eventually turned into chocolate – a product they have never seen, let alone tasted. Doesn’t that sound wrong to you?
In 2020 Nick Baskett from Bartalks and VADEMCO CEO Suliman Kamara enjoyed a convivial rapport after Mr Kamara contacted Bartalks to see if we could help with a project they were working on. Mr Kamara, supported by Solidaridad offers consultancy and support for farmers in the region and has plans to start their own chocolate production in Liberia.
Later in the year, Bartalks wrote in our weekly Newsletter to ask if anyone wanted to support a project to put chocolate into the hands of farmers so that, for the first time, they would know, see and taste first hand, the product of their hard work.
A forward thinking and ingenious Mr Dou, the founder of Microfertile in Cote d’Ivoire, a well-established company that produces a number of chocolate products for the region, immediately responded with his commitment to be involved.
True to his word, within a couple of weeks he had delivered a large quantity of chocolate bars and cocoa powder to Solidaridad’s offices in Abidjan.
Of course no project ever goes to plan, and it transpired the costs to ship them to Liberia was excessive. Time for plan B then!
Bartalks made a cash donation to a local Liberian speciality chocolate company which produced around 195 bars, just in time before Christmas. VADEMCO pulled off a miraculous organisation of several villages to come together in a tasting session, putting on food, education and talks, and of course the chocolate!
Solidaridad meanwhile, provided all the logistics, transport, photography and filming – something we are extremely grateful for. A short video was made showing the event. We were so glad that VADEMCO were able to put this together in time for Christmas, which is of course, the time of year for giving and reflection.
We are also incredibly grateful to Mr Dou from Microfertile, who we will be covering in another article.