Does your chocolate do good?
Good for the soul, good for these farmers. As if you needed another reason.
Update July 2017:
As of October 2016, Kakoa Chocolate has been rebranded to Krakakoa. They are still working together with farmers to produce high-quality, organic cacao beans that go into their chocolate.
Did you know that many cocoa farmers in Indonesia, the world's third largest producer of the bean that gives us chocolate, have never tasted chocolate?
That was our experience when we met cocoa farmers in Lampung, about 350km northwest of the capital Jakarta.
When we offered chocolate to them, they broke out in smiles, saying "enak!" (delicious) after trying it for the first time.
Pak Misman, a small-scale farmer, said he previously had no idea what happened after his cocoa beans were sold.
The 44-year-old used the earnings from growing cocoa to buy rice and to pay for his children's education.
But growing cocoa had not been easy, and farmers like Pak Misman had struggled with low yields because their trees were diseased.
Kakoa Chocolate, a social enterprise co-founded by Sabrina Mutapo, lends a helping hand by working with the farmers in Lampung to better manage their crops.
Kakoa also teaches them how to ferment their own beans – a process to bring out the best chocolate flavour from the beans – and buys the beans from them at premium rates to make and sell quality chocolate.
With a better chance of growing healthy crops, and higher earnings through working with Kakoa, the farmers have more to smile about than just the great taste of chocolate.
As Pak Misman says: "If we care for our cocoa trees in the best way, we will get the best results too."
As for the rest of us, we've always known that chocolate makes us happy.
Now we know that by buying locally-sourced and locally-produced chocolate from a social enterprise such as Kakoa, our happiness can be good for these Indonesian farmers too.