Direct trade pays higher and makes flavorful cacao
Malabog farmers used to get paid only 20-30 pesos per kilo (4-6 SEK or 0.4-0.6 USD) for their wet cacao beans by consolidators and middlemen.
But through the direct-trade partnership with Theo & Philo, the farmers were able to learn how to ferment and dry their cacao beans properly and get paid 85% higher at 140-160 pesos (28-32 SEK or 2.8-3.2 USD) per kilo.
85% increase in cacao bean prices for farmers: from 0.4 USD to 3.2 USD per kilo
With higher income, Malabog farmers were able to buy their own land to build their new cacao processing facilities, much better than the old one temporarily sheltered in the school village.
And because of direct trade, Malabog farmers get direct support from Theo & Philo to fulfill its requirement for higher quality cacao.
Since bean fermentation is a critical step to developing great cacao flavor, Theo & Philo has donated dryers and fermentation trays to the community over the years of this partnership.
Kuya or Brother Lando has been farming the land his family bought 20 years ago. When he started planting cacao 7 years ago, he was only paid P20-24/kg.
But with direct-trade and higher cacao prices, Brother Lando was able to:
Employ other farmers to assist during harvest season and maintenance of his farm
Support his two kid’s education who has now finished college (higher education is expensive for poor families in the Philippines)
Buy additional land from his earnings to expand his farm
Launch his own local chocolate tableya product named aptly, Papa Lando
Farm size: 4 hectares (2,000 cacao trees)
Average yield: 120 – 150kg per harvest
Wet beans price: Php 31.00/kg
2 major harvest seasons:
Feb to Apr every 15 days
Oct to Dec every 15 days
Lando also plants banana and coconut along with cacao
No child labor at the farm means support for education
Beyond bean-to-bar maker, Theo and Philo supports farmer’s children
No child labor happens in the community as parents encourage their children to go to school even to walk 3 to 5 kilometers to town of dangerous steep and rocky slopes.
To help ease this burden, Theo and Philo currently supports 13 kid beneficiaries by providing monthly allowances for meal and transportation.
The Tzocolaté team would like to thank Rene Rieta, head coordinator for Gawad Kalinga Mindanao for the photos and information about the good work they do with the Malabog farmers. Mabuhay kayo!
You may also want to read:
The inspiring story of the Malabog Cacao Farmers