Whittaker’s extends partnership programme that is revitalising Samoa’s cocoa industry

The Programme which started in 2014, and expanded in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in 2017, is helping to turn around Samoa’s cocoa export industry with yields at the farms participating in it doubling since its inception.

 In 2014, average cocoa yields at the participating farms in Samoa were at 150kg, and as a result of the Programme, are now at 300kg per hectare of dried cocoa bean, with exports doubling from 15 tonnes to 30 tonnes per year, and 400 growers applying new growing and post-harvest techniques on their farms.

Bridging the gap in the world of cocoa

This is the home of Pump Street Bakery Chocolate, an award-winning brand of bean-to-bar premium chocolate.

Among its range of fine, dark chocolate bars is the Solomon Islands 72 percent dark chocolate bar, the lone bar representing the Pacific under the Pump Street Bakery brand.

Chocolatier to import cocoa from American Samoa

At present, Wilex, uses cocoa supplied by farmers in Upolu and Savaii, but company representative Nathan Wilson says it is also looking at supplies from American Samoa.

A cocoa tree planting programme was spearheaded by American Samoa's Department of Agriculture between 2008 and 2012 and cocoa plantations sprung up in Fagasa, Malaeloa and even in Manua.

Wilex exports chocolates and cocoa powder to New Zealand and Australia and is now promoting its products in the territory.


Samoa, Australia sign MOU for assistance for Samoan cocoa

The MOU was signed between Australian High Commissioner Sue Langford and Samoa's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao. 

Pacific exchange in drive for quality cocoa exports

This is part of a wider drive to improve the quality and reputation of Pacific cocoa, so that it can be sold into higher priced international markets. 

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Program brought together experts from PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Samoa to foster technical discussions and exchanges on cocoa quality testing and build the capacity of technical staff from relevant research organisations.

Cocoa another trending export produce for Samoa

Samoa's exports have been dominated by taro and other produce grown in the islands.

One produce that is silently making its way to the export table is cocoa – Samoan Koko - according to Lisa Karene the Executive Director of Noras Plantation Foods in Vaitele.

"We decided on the cocoa because it was easy to process, and from our market research it was one of the ‘trendier’ superfoods to put out there," she said.

Despite admitting to being late into the Australian market, Karene says they’ve seen a lot of growth in the demands due to high quality needs.