Forum Activity for @Jim2

Jim2
@Jim2
12/28/14 09:03:41AM
49 posts

Cacau farmers earn 6% of the value of chocolate bars....hardly worth the effort!!!


Posted in: Opinion

Extracted from 14 Dec 2014 Financial Times (Brazil)

The sector, which turns cocoa beans in butter, powder and cocoa liquor used to make chocolates and flavoring for desserts and sweets, has been undergoing a process of strong concentration of ownership in recent decades, due to the activity requires investment capital intensive.

Many of the transactions dating back to the merger between Callebaut, a Belgian manufacturer of industrial chocolate, and, Cacao Barry of France, in 1996 began the consolidation of the sector.

In the early 1990s, there were about 40 significant size cocoa processors. Just over a decade later, the number was 9, and ADM, Barry Callebaut and Cargill came to dominate the industry ever since. According to the United Nations Trade and Development Conference, the "ABC" [ADM, Barry Callebaut and Cargill] of cocoa accounted for 41% of world capacity fruit processing in 2006.

ADM and Cargill combined and changed the nature of trade and cocoa processing in the 1990s, when the industry took its expertise in the grain trade.Since then, the larger companies won more power to expand its processing capacity. In 2013, Barry Callebaut acquired the cocoa processing operations of the Asian group Petra Foods, cementing its top ranking position.

Gerry Manley, director of global cocoa operations Olam, made it clear that the company needs to be a leader in the processing segment to remain "strong" as a company, when the company announced the acquisition agreement with ADM. It would be possible to say that the trading companies and cocoa processors are simply trying to follow their customers -the chocolate manufacturers.

This sector also saw rapid consolidation, with the top five manufacturers, including Mars, Nestle and Mondelez, now accounts for over 65% of total sales of chocolate.

MARKETING

The importance of global brands and increasing marketing costs and research and development in an increasingly internationalized and competitive market helped to promote consolidation.

According to Ecobank, 70% of the value of a chocolate bar is with the cocoa and chocolate companies, reflecting investments in marketing and research and development; 17% of the value is with the retail and 7%, with intermediaries such as trading companies.But, as the great chocolate gain strength, cocoa farmers find themselves under increasing pressure.They get only 6% of the value of each chocolate bar today, compared to 16% in the 1980s, says Edward George, Ecobank. "Very small part of the value is related to the raw material," he says.

The great cocoa and chocolate companies are now coalesced around a plan of action to encourage the development of sources "sustainable" cocoa. But unless the proportion of the value that it is for growers change or the whole cake grows, farmers have little incentive to continue cultivating cocoa



updated by @Jim2: 04/11/15 01:51:56AM
Jim2
@Jim2
04/12/13 11:51:46AM
49 posts

Single Origin Chocolate - Standards?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Sebastian,

You should be able to see photos of some of the process we use in Fazenda Venturosa

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
04/10/13 06:07:02PM
49 posts

Single Origin Chocolate - Standards?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Sebastian,

I'll put together a few shots and post as requested. I'll try to get it done by weeks end.

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
04/09/13 07:22:49AM
49 posts

Single Origin Chocolate - Standards?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Kalibri Anne,

The answer depends on how you frame your question. Single Origin is another advertising "buzz word" that tries to imply a special status for the beans that are used to make chocolate. I am a bean producer and have the ability to produce single origin beans which are Estate Single Origin, single origin beans which are Regional Single Origin, single origin beans which are Country Single Origin, etc. In our situation, since we produce several varieties within our farm, we could produce Variety Singe Origin. The term simply has no meaning when you fail to define "Single Origin What". It becomes more complicated when you try to impose the term when referencing "chocolate". Most commercial or mass chocolate producers do not acquire and process beans from a single farmstead and therefore simply are unable to attest to the origin other than that of the location of their plant. Few bean producers have ample capacity to provide feed stock required to create the imaginary "Single Origin Chocolate". There are cooperative processors that collect beans from various producers and advertise "Single Origin", however, the methodology of post harvest processing of beans differ with each farm taking away the "Single Origin" myth.

Until one controls farm production, post harvest process, warehousing logistics and the ultimate steps of producing chocolate....."Single Origin" can only be described as two words used to promote retail sales.

Jim Lucas

Floresta Azul Brazil

Jim2
@Jim2
12/14/12 06:42:46AM
49 posts

Dry Seed Cleaner Adapted to Cacau


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Clay,

The concept of chocolate producers having to acquire machines to clean cocoa beans before use is a concept I am unable to comprehend. If you are buying beans that require cleaning, you are not only wasting chocolate production time but also paying premium prices for trash. Buy beans that are properly processed and forget about trying to compensate for shoddy quality control at the producer level.

The final stage of our process exposes all beans to a cleaning phase that removes all material that is not useable bean. In addition our machinery separates beans by size (mass) and offers uniform, clean beans that can go directly from the sack to the roaster.

Forget about adding a process to the already complicated issue of chocolate and buy from producers that include practice quality control in the process line .

Jim Lucas


updated by @Jim2: 04/10/15 11:24:42AM
Jim2
@Jim2
10/16/12 09:07:39PM
49 posts

Washing Beans after Ferment


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I've followed this discussion with some interest. To date, there seems to be no compelling reason to "wash" beans after fermentation is completed. However....a very real reason for notmaking this effort is WATER. Our operations are conducted far..far...from the "city main" andwater supplies have to be created by filtering and treating water that is taken from a river that flows through our farm. This commodity is costly and bean baths would surely create a waste stream that would have to be managed.Seems like we are adding costs to a product that currently borderlines on negative profit. Unless it enhances the quality i would givea thumbs down!

Jim2
@Jim2
05/29/12 06:33:27PM
49 posts

The Malting Process as it Relates to Cacao Fermentation


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Tom,

We have a standard practice of cutting pods and leaving them in a collected location for 4 days. I have found that the "resting" phase, through evaporation, reduces the amount of liquid that must be drained during fermentation and concentrates sugars contained in the fruit. We have had no germination experiences and find the fermentation temperatures rise substantially higher when the pods are opened 4 days after harvest. I don't know what the method of collecting after cut is being used in other locations but we have developed a tool for picking ip pods without using sharp tools. Many locations use machete or other to "stick" the pod then enter to the transport basket. BAD PRACTICE....once the pod interior has been introduced to oxygen, fermentation begins and there's no way you can expect to get a controlled fermentation cycle. We have found the most significant steps in our process are:

1. collect only fruit that is fully ripened. There are economic reasons to collect all ripe, near ripe and promising to ripen pods when the harvest is made. This precludes having to return the next week for an additional cutting.

2. move beans to fermentation boxes within 8 hours of opening the pods. Do not co-mingle "good" beans with diseased, discolored or otherwise non-standard quality.

3. utilize fermentation boxes that have free flow for allowing liquids to exit the fermentation unit. Our fermentation boxes are constructed with 5mm gaps at all joining surfaces.

4. maintain a cover over the fermenting beans to retain heat. I am against the use of banana leaves as cover as the collect humidity on the surface adjacent to the bean and "rain" on the pile when cooled temperatures are encountered at night. We use fabric material which can be washed after the fermentation cycles terminate.

5. The remaining steps are a function of bean temperature, ambient temperature, sugar concentration, heap size, and must be measured at daily intervals with adjustments as required. Final phases of fermentation must be carefully managed to produce full fermentation without excessive fermentation. We use pile temperature to manage the first phases and bean cuts for concluding when beans are ready to dry.

Item 1 and Item 5 are absolutely required for quality fermentation...the other items may have a small impact on the final product but omission of 1 and 5 are guaranteed disaster.

Jim Lucas

Fazenda Venturosa

Floresta Azul, Bahia, Brazil

Jim2
@Jim2
10/25/11 05:57:20PM
49 posts

What does "Sustainable" mean to you, when it comes to cocoa?


Posted in: Opinion

Thomas,

i was addressing the worker...worker, not farm owner.

I don't ubderstand your math. If the worker receives US$5.25 per day, it seems difficult to arrive at

US$210 per month. 210/5.25=40 days per month? Do day labors work every day...7 days per week?

normal work weeks are 5.5 days that would earn US$ 28.87 per week or US$115.00 per month.

Workers in Brazil work 44hr weeks, holidays and Sundays are 2X normal salary and night service is 1.5

times normal salary.

Is the US$25000 gross or net profit?

Jim2
@Jim2
10/25/11 02:48:35PM
49 posts

What does "Sustainable" mean to you, when it comes to cocoa?


Posted in: Opinion

Clay, I am reluctant to use the term sustainability when referring to cacau. I am more prone to apply the word to cacao workers. Far too long we have wrung our hands and searched for way to obtain cocoa beans that meet some imaginary standard. It is not the trees that suffer from abusive producers and governments, ITS THE WORKER!!!! Take a look at the salaries for selected cocoa producing countries. Does this look sustainable to you?

The Harkin-Engel Protocol made a watered down attempt to protect children that were working in cocoa plantations, but, I hear very little mention of the thousands of adult workers who are working for pennies a day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country

Benin 30,000 CFA francs (46) per month

Bolivia 647 Bolivian bolivianos (66) per month

Brazil R$ 545.00 about US$ 348.39 per month, paid 13 times a year one monthpaid vacation plus 8.5% retirement deposit

Burkina Faso 30,684 CFA francs (47) a month in the formal sector; does notapply to subsistence agriculture 182,000

Chile Chilean pesos (258) per month for workers aged 1865 ;

Columbia 535,000 Colombian pesos (207) a month (2011);

Costa Rica 131,907 Costa Rican colones (186) a month

Ivory Coast it varies by occupation, with the lowest set to 36,607 CFA franc (56)

Dominican Republic 4,900 Dominican pesos (91)

Ghana Ghanaian cedis (1.95) a dayGuatemala Guatemalan quetzales (4.78) per day for agricultural work

Indonesia 1,410,000 rupiah (116) per month in Papua; as low as 675,000rupiah per month in West Java

Madagascar 70,025 Malagasy ariary (25) per month for nonagriculturalworkers; 71,000 ariary per month for agricultural workers[9]

Mexico 54.47 pesos (3.49) in Zone C (all other states)

Nigeria 18,000 naira (81) per month, nationally (with a 13 month year as the lawmandates an extra month's pay for the Christmas holiday)

Peru 550 Peruvian nuevos soles (139) per month[52]

Sao Tome 650,000 So Tom and Prncipe dobras (27) per month for civil servants

Is this Fair Trade? Is this good for natural habitat? Is this good for the rain forest? Is this organic? It;s time we look past the glitzy organizations with certified backgrounds and insist that the actual producers are treated in a SUSTAINABLE manner.

Jim Lucas

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
10/14/11 06:07:51AM
49 posts

Check Out My Newly (Revised) Web Site


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Tom,Thanks for the comments. You suggestion is well taken and I will add captions during then next revision.RegardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
10/10/11 05:39:41AM
49 posts

Check Out My Newly (Revised) Web Site


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Clay,

Good to hear from you. In 2012 Brazil will host a Salon du Chocolat in Salvador rather than the regional show in Ilheus. The details escape me at this moment but I'll send information later. It would be a pleasure to have you visit our farms and bring friends.

Jim

Jim2
@Jim2
10/09/11 05:57:08PM
49 posts

Check Out My Newly (Revised) Web Site


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Wehavelaunched a new web site and includes a series of photos that accurately reflect the daily life in a cocoa farm. The facility and personnel are well qualified to produce world class Superior cocoa beans. In 2010 our farm, Fazenda Venturosa, was honored to receive a "Certificate of Excellence" at Salon du Chocolat in Paris. We have been invited to participate in the 2011 event and it will be our pleasure to visit with you at the Brazilian Exibit. It should be a great opportunity to get to know Brazil's cocoa beans and the producers. Look for Lola Lucas, she will be happy to host one and all.

www.bahiacocoabean.com.br


updated by @Jim2: 04/09/15 12:01:59PM
Jim2
@Jim2
09/27/11 03:22:13PM
49 posts

Raw chocolate.....again


Posted in: Opinion

Tom,

I think you have just solved my cocoa bean marketing problem. I am going to offer the rawwwwest cacau for those that aspire to it.

You can come to my farm, go into the cacau plantation, I'll provide a guide....and for 1dollar a pod, pick your own and feast until your hearts content. The guide will break them open for you and collect the dollars.

Jim2
@Jim2
08/20/11 07:29:13AM
49 posts

better pricing for better cacao


Posted in: Opinion

Lourdes,

What and where is a official premium paid for fine cacau? What is the value of the premium?

I have watched the formation and failure of dozens of farmer associations. The issue remains the basic price paid for cocoa beans. Until chocolate lovers accept the fact that cocoa producers are underpaid for the product.....a group of poor farmers working together do not change. THEY STILL REMAIN A GROUP OF POOR FARMERS. Adding the expense of coop administration to the already overburdened farm economics simply complicates individual budgets. There are success stories from various parts of the industry where small holders have banded together, normally short lived. The only success story that endures is of the big 5 multinationals that control the world market price. I wish it could be changed but it's not likely in the near future.

The cost of producing "premium fine" cocoa is much higher than "bulk beans", as individuals and as coops. If you have an example of a coop that has raised small holders from poverty to "middle class", please let me know and I will personally visit them in order to understand the process.

Best regards

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
08/18/11 09:00:09AM
49 posts

better pricing for better cacao


Posted in: Opinion

Sebastian,

Cacau is sold by weight and the producers are striving to maximize this attribute. It makes little economic sense to produce organic beans for 10% premium (standard in Brazil), when the addition of fertilizer increases the quantity produced by 50%.

Your comments regarding "create the demand" has the most interesting impact. Unless buyers are willing to contract for an entire farm production, it is unlikely they will be in a position to dictate production techniques. In all cases, the producer is unable to produce 100% cacau of excellent quality. Disease, production processes and other factors influence quality. Will the buyer accept the "discards"?

The inescapable fact is, flavor is one of the least considered factors in producer earnings. In addition, 10% of cacau beans produced are absorbed by fine chocolate producers, the remainder goes to multinationals. Until high end chocolate producers accept the fact that premium beans are in fact "premium priced" there is a serious "log jam" I do not know a single producer that is interested in selling premium beans at any cost.

A solution for those interested in long term supplies of high quality beans is to invest in the farms and take an active role in its operations. Any takers?

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
05/30/11 05:32:48PM
49 posts

New ChocolateLife Resource Wiki


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Clay,

Sounds like a good addition to the cacau/chocolate community. I'm looking forward to "just the facts man, just the facts" . Count me in when you kick off.

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
04/07/11 06:01:33AM
49 posts

Where to find cocoa pulp?


Posted in: Classifieds

Benoit,
The juice we drink is not pasteurized and I doubt that it is available in this area. I live in the cacau farm and we daily use fruits, fruit juices and vegetables that come from our garden or orchards. I'm afraid we are a bit primitive for some of the 1st world customs

Sorry...I guess you will have to come visit us to drink cacau pulp!
Best regards
Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
04/06/11 01:30:16PM
49 posts

Where to find cocoa pulp?


Posted in: Classifieds

On Wed, Apr 6, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Jim Lucas <cacaufarmer@yahoo.com> wrote:
Benoit,
The "pulp" you are referencing is an integral part of the cacau fruit (pod). The seeds (cacau beans) are surrounded by this viscous material. When the fruit is ripened, the "pulp" is at it's highest sugar content and very flavorful. In order to capture the "pulp", one needs to be present when the fruit (pods) are opened and the seeds (cacau beans) removed. Typically "pulp" is collected by placing the newly harvested beans in a centrifugal separator which quickly removes liquids from the bean mass. The collected liquids are sieved to remove large solids and stored in 100-250 ml packets which are frozen and stored.

There are many points of distribution in the cacau regions of Brazil and if you would like to follow the trail, I will be happy to send references. Bear in mind the "pulp" must remain frozen until it is consumed and shipping could get complicated and pricey.

In our farms, the pulp or mel (honey) is extracted during normal harvests and consumed within hours of collection. Families living in the farms typically maintain refrigerated stocks for daily use and find it much less costly and more healthy than cola drinks. We do not process with a centrifuge because of the requirement for a sugar rich environment to initiate fermentation. During fermentation cycles, the pulp drains from the fermentation boxes under gravity forces and normally is complete after 48-72 hours. Once drained, it becomes waste and is processed as such,


Best regards
Jim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
04/05/11 10:08:08AM
49 posts

Where to find cocoa pulp?


Posted in: Classifieds

Benoit,

I assume you are refering to the liquid encapsulated by the cocoa pod. If that is true, you must find someone willing to collest the material during harvest periods and freeze immediately. The liquid contains a substantial amount of sugar and will begin fermentation soon after the pod is opened. here in Brazil, the liquids are collected and frozen later to be incorporated into "cacau juice" which is a popular drink in the cacau regions.

What quantities are you requiring and for what period of time?

best regards

Jim Lucas

Jim2
@Jim2
11/21/10 05:16:22AM
49 posts

To freight or not to freight...


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Anthony,The single largest problem I have is "Transportation". In addition to the items you listed, you need to exploreCost of staging to the point of FOBIf you are considering bean shipment, the point of FOB is normally remotely located from the origin of beans and can be substantial. Shipment in excess of 20kg are not normally handled by postal services and requires alternate types of commercial movement. This entails additional steps which include added paperwork and possibly government regulations. Free movement of goods are normally controlled by lots of forms, inspections and controls $$$$$Fees and TaxesThe simple act of commercial transfer between parties brings out another host of 3rd party blood suckers that add to the misery of buyers/shippers. In Brazil, you must have an official "Export Specialist" (Despechante) in order to process a shipment through the Government Export Process. On reality, you must prepare all documentation and possess an export license prior to submitting goods for export. This "rubber stamp" process cost 1 minimum salary (Today is +- US$ 300. You are also legally bound to contribute 1/2 minimum salary to the union to which the 3rd party "Export Specialist" belongs.Sanitation ControlAll goods shipped normally require "Inspection and Certification" that the goods are free of diseases and are worthy of shipment. This requires plastic pallets or fumigated wooden pallets. another +- US$150. Inspection and subsequent documentation adds another +- US$ 50.00. Specific types of packaging normally apply which in the case of beans, include requirements for unused sacks with very specific information printed ( Origin, product enclosed, Tax ID number, weight and Shipper name). Depending on the importing destination, possible fumigation and other tasks)Costs of commercial transport....Expensive!!!!Depending on Origin and Destination and method of transport. Typically out of Brazil this amounts to +_ US$ 1.00 per kg and Full container 20' (15000kg} +_US# 4500.Since most bean sources originate in 3rd world countries the options for undeclared costs to remove "bumps in the road" from corrupt officials depend on the location and whether the inspector needs additional cash for vacation expenses.Without any doubt, this subject is well worth extensive research before seller or buyer enters into an agreement. Most of the hassles encountered by individuals are avoided by multinational giants as they maintain large staffs and bank accounts to subvert the problem.In all cases...BUYER AND SELLER BEWARE....Jim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
10/26/10 01:24:47PM
49 posts



Lana,While you are browsing the show, drop by the Brazilian display and ask for Lola. She speaks English and can explain the Brazilian cocoa situation. The cocoa industry in Brazil is undergoing a major transformation with regards to quality standards and you will be pleasantly surprised at the type of beans available. She is the owner of a farm and has bean samples for those interested. It will be worth your efforts to talk to herJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
10/06/10 10:43:21AM
49 posts

Ambanja Pics - http://tonylange.jalbum.net/


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Anthony,cacaufarmer@yahoo.comFazenda (Farm) VenturosaFloresta Azul ,Bahia, Brazillooking forward to receiving the photosbest regardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
10/06/10 06:01:45AM
49 posts

Ambanja Pics - http://tonylange.jalbum.net/


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Anthony,Thanks very much for answering some questions that have long plagued me. I was very surprised at the photo of the bean separator. It looks like a pre WW2 device but I take my hat off for them. There is a true recognition that sorting is required. In Brazil I only know of one other farmer that is using any type of size grading.The entire cocoa industry is in free fall. It was precarious before the world economic crash and now is a disaster. Since beans are priced in dollars or pounds on an international market, the 3rd world has really taken a pounding. The exchange rate for dollars and Brazilian Reais has fallen 40% in the last 18 months and prices of cacau in local currencies has rock bottomed. We just had presidential elections which included promises to raise salaries. If the promises are met, salaries and legislated benefits will rise to US$600 per month per worker. Unless cocoa prices rise, i see a disaster in Brazil's cocoa industry.Thanks again for your time and good luck with your chocolate enterprises.Best regardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
10/05/10 02:02:40PM
49 posts

Ambanja Pics - http://tonylange.jalbum.net/


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Anthony,I enjoyed your photo essay on Madagascar. I'm a bean producer in Brazil and have a keen interest in how they are produced in other parts of the world.It was an eye opener to see the methods used to transport, clean and store cocoa beans. Madagascar is obviously far behind Brazil in social and economic development. To see six women hand sorting and cleaning cacao is far from a reality in Brazil. I prepared several tons of beans for a client using this method and took a bath in labor costs. We have since installed machines that originally were designed for coffee. There were design changes and some long hours of adjustment but most of the grading is now mechanized.Was the site you photographed a co-operative? It seemed like a very large operation for a single farmstead in Madagascar. Who and how do they maintain quality control of the processes?Again, very good photos and much insight in another part of the cocoa world.Best regardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
09/12/10 05:07:31PM
49 posts

Information on Madagascar


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Brian,Here are some facts that reflect an environment which provides beans from Madagascar. You will note the monthly minimum wage for agricultural workers is the equivalent to two high end 100 gram chocolate bars. Although the flavors may be heavenly, the means of extracting them are hell.The website for this info is included if you have an interest. The quest for excellence in chocolate should include consideration for the labor that provides it's prime material. If you read the full report, it may alter your evaluation of the next sampling of Madagascar chocolate.Jim LucasThe monthly minimum wage was about $42 for nonagricultural workers and $43 for agricultural workers in 2008. The Ministry of Civil Services and Labor is responsible for enforcing working conditions and the minimum wages. It does not have the resources to properly monitor working conditions. The standard workweek is 40 hours in nonagricultural and service industries and 42.5 hours in the agricultural sector.The minimum age for employment is 15 years. Children can work a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week with no overtime. Persons under the age of 18 are forbidden from working at night and at sites where there is an imminent danger to health, safety, or morals. The laws to protect children from exploitation in the workplace are not effectively enforced. The International Labor Organization's 2007 National Survey on Child Labor in Madagascar indicated that about 28% of children between 5 and 17work on a full-time or part-time basis.Only 36% of families in rural areas have access to clean drinking water. According to a government survey of hygiene in February 2009, only 18% of the 111 school districts have access to drinking water at their schools and only 30% have toilet facilities. Lack of access to water and sanitation at schools is one of the major reasons for the high rate of diseases among children. Skin infections and respiratory diseases are common as a result of contaminated water.37% of the population is considered to be undernourished, 47% of the population have access to clean drinking water, 36.8% of children under 5 are underweight for their age, 12% of the population have access to improved sanitation facilities, the probability of dying between the ages of 15 and 60 is 26.8%, 89.6% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, 71.3% of the population lives below the national poverty levelhttp://www.estandardsforum.org/system/briefs/275/original/brief-Madagascar.pdf?1261005963
Jim2
@Jim2
06/03/10 06:27:45AM
49 posts

Interesting Information "Cacau Bean Future"


Posted in: News & New Product Press

For those that follow world cacau market trends and analysis, the following Financial Times report will be of interest. It describes issues that will effect all of us in the immediate future.



http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/28e00036-67a0-11df-a932-00144feab49a.html

Jim Lucas

updated by @Jim2: 04/12/15 04:05:50AM
Jim2
@Jim2
05/29/10 05:57:46PM
49 posts

What relationship do high quality, non-artisanal chocolate makers have with the cacao farmers/plantations?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Clay,I have no experience with "wild" cacau and it's characteristics but I have a full sack of experience with "witches broom". The description you provided for trees in Volker's farm are a small part of the fungal life cycle. The whole problem begins when an single spore of dried witches broom is deposited on an area of the cacau that is in new growth stage. The spore attaches and propagates into a green shoot, normally at the tip of a branch or junction of two branches. This shoot increases in size at a rate ten times that of the cacau plant. In fact the growth rate is so violent, it outstrips the cacau plants ability to provide nutrients and it "dies". The vegetation dies but a remaining part of the broom, very similar to a mushroom, contains millions of spores. When they are fully dried, the spore pod disintegrates into a broadcast of millions of additional spores. Wind is the principal mechanism of transport and does a very good job of inoculation. Although the disease does very little damage to the tree, other than utilizing gross amounts of nutrients, it also has the capacity of inoculating cacau pods when they are initially formed. That pod will develop into a normal size but will be discolored, normally dark brown spots and the beans are completely useless. A typical maintenance program in cacau is to remove the witches broom while it is still vibrant. Diseased pods are cut off the tree and discarded. I think the idea that it dries and falls off without harm is a bit optimistic. I would take a close look at the dried sections for spore pods.Brazil cacau, particularly in the Bahia has been devastated by this disease. It arrived in the region in 1989 and since has been a billion $ headache to resolve. The most common solution for the problem has been the use of grafting techniques that utilize grafting material from trees that have endured the onslaught by natural selection. The Cacau Research Center (CEPLAC) and UNICAMP University have been working non-stop with DNA mapping to develop solutions. To date, there has been no silver bullet. If I could re-coup the costs I've experienced in the past 15 years of the "witches broom" battle, I would spend the remainder of my days writing books about Brazilian beaches and the merits of Brazilian bikinis.
Jim2
@Jim2
05/29/10 02:24:25AM
49 posts

Brazil Moving Out Of The Shadows


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Brazil must be doing something correctly. Yesterday I received news that PURATOS out of Europe has arrived and purchased a chocolate operation recently started by a friend. The operation had it's inauguration 28 April with "Cacau of Origin" classification. Before the plant had been fully tested, PURATOS showed up with USD 12 million and bought them out. The plant is located in Linhares, Espirito Santos and was designed with capacity of 2500 tons. PURATOS announced at the purchase of intentions of raising the capacity to 7500 tons before 2012. Their market is Europe. The operation was founded by a group of cacau producers that had a dream of breaking the glass ceiling on how we sell cacau.

Barry Callebaut announced on the same day it had finalized plans to construct and operate a new facility in the state of Minas Gerias, with an investment of USD 15 million. The plan will initially produce 20,000 tons of chocolate by 2012. Their market is Brazil and USA.

Kopenhagen Chocolates has also relocated it's operations to Minas Gerias and will market in Brazil,
USA and Europe.

Valrhona announced its grand opening of it's high end chocolate shop in a luxury shopping center in Sao Paulo. I do not know where the product is created but have doubts that they will be importing. This is their 2nd outlet in Sao Paulo, a city of 19 million.

I have recently joined a group to build a chocolate production operation in Ilheus Bahia that will have an initial capacity of 2000 tons. The market is China and contracts have been negotiated for first production in 2011. The principals are cacau farmers that were drafted from a newly formed Association of Cacau Producers (APC) seated in Ilheus. 50,000 sq ft of land has been acquired and we are in the final design stages. Another dream of cacau producers at work.

All of this activity is located within 100 miles of the principal cacau production region in Bahia, Brazil. The economic strength of Brazil seemed to hold strong during the recent downturn and chocolate consumption in Brazil is rising dramatically. All of this activity has resulted from the steady improvement of cacau quality in our region. Quality control management and changes in the way farms are managed are finally bringing positive results to the producer. Looks like the multinational monopoly may be showing signs of cracks


updated by @Jim2: 04/27/15 07:15:40PM
Jim2
@Jim2
05/27/10 07:44:27PM
49 posts

What relationship do high quality, non-artisanal chocolate makers have with the cacao farmers/plantations?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Brian,I enjoyed your reply but have a couple of questions or comments.Your comment regarding cacau being given an advantage by growing under shade is not true. This myth has been advertised by ecological populist but in fact is the opposite. Cacau grown under "shade" suffers from low levels of light and produce less. The new cacau farms are being planned and installed utilizing irrigation and have zero shade. I have visited irrigated farms that are currently producing and have production levels eight or ten times our averages. They are also in production 12 months of the year rather than 6-8 months. In addition, the cacau grown under forest conditions are in competition for water and nutrition. I think it is safe to say the future of cacau lies with the new generation of farms. I do not have knowledge of a single new farm being planted under shade. As indicated by the accounts submitted in an earlier comment, the economics simply are not favorable for the ancient cacau farm style. Economics is changing the future of cacau and chocolate producers need to gird their loins for a new era. You are absolutely correct in your comment "Profits are the ultimate sustainability".What is meant by ......"10% above the local market price" ? Who sets the local market price? In most cases the farmer has no control over setting local market price. This typically is set by a local commercial entity, not the farmer. To long cacau has been produced and sold to the highest bidder. I would submit that producers generally have not a clue what "cost to produce" means, much less sales that are based on cost plus a percentage of profit. This is clearly demonstrated if you examine the number of "investments" being reported by farmers and those being reported by an entity outside the farming community. If profits existed at the producer level, certification agencies would have absolutely no function at the farm level. The concept of placing responsibility for ecological correctness for pitttances paid is rapidly being ushered out. A new model of cacau production and sales is certain to play a role in all our lives.Jim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
05/27/10 06:47:48AM
49 posts

What relationship do high quality, non-artisanal chocolate makers have with the cacao farmers/plantations?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Sebastian,I"m not exactly sure what the question is, however I will give some stats that will likely include an answer.When beans are harvested, we install them in a fermentation box after measuring the volume using a regional standardized size of "2 arrobas". The box holds an amount that will result in 30kg of dried beans. Once fermentation and drying occurs, we weigh the resultant mass, which should be 30kg. All data is recorded throughout the process and summarized when the cacau is bagged. A perfect value for beans is "1" , indicating 30kgs in/ 30kgs out.We use this practice to evaluate several thingsState of ripeness when beans are harvestedPresence of a disease in the harvested beansPresence of unwanted foreign material (leaves, pod husk, etc)It also allows us to track individual area performanceThe typical "break" or "gain" normally provides an evaluation factor of 0.96 - 1.05. i.e. we calculated at volume measurement 30 kg and received dry yield of 96% -105% of that value. These weekly numbers are used to track overall production of the farm, production of each designated farm area and performance of work done by the "manager" of the specific area.When we began the volume/weight comparison it was not uncommon to receive 0.75 or 75% of the calculated weights. Our rigid controls moved our management level to a new level. Today, all our employees attempt to meet the desired number of "1". In addition to offering an excellent control we also have a device to reward "sector managers" for excellence.If you are asking what is our total wet bean production for the farm, 2010 will likely be 45-55 tons.Hope this helps, but if you have additional questions, let me know.Jim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
05/25/10 08:43:15PM
49 posts

What relationship do high quality, non-artisanal chocolate makers have with the cacao farmers/plantations?


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Clay,I'm dumbfounded by preception that cacau beans should be low priced because they are a product of 3rd world labor. I'm sure most small chocolate producers have no concept of the work required to produce the tiny beans that ultimately displayed on a gourmet shelf in the supermarket.In reality, the prices quoted internationally for cacau beans is certainly the result of QUANTITY buyers. Cargill, ADM, Nestle, Mars, etc., purchase in 1000s of tons and have a acquisition network that streaches from the most simple farm in Ivory Coast to their corporate warehouses. Prices are determined by commodity technicians using very complex analysis of bean availability, grindings, weatherpredictions, bean production predictions, currency markets and a zillion other factors. The quotedprices are at the producers warehouse and do not include packaging, handling, freight etc. An attempt of a "bean to bar"producer to use the IOCC daily quoted priceas a benchmark for 100kg of beans is insane.I've been at the task of turning a large, efficient, well managed farm into a profitable venture for 15 years. NOT YET....not a single cent of profit have I made in the entire episode. The following data reflect todays world in cacau from a Brazilian producers slant. I can imagine the plight of 1000s of small holders that are in the "sell or starve" position. Tomake the situation less attractive, the product harvest period lasts only 6 months, the remaining 6 months has to be supported by your PROFITS.I invite all comers to visit our farms andput in a week of "producing cacau beans" Afterwards we can have a discussion regarding the price of beans...Best regardsJim LucasFazenda VenturosaFloresta Azul Bahia Brazilcacaufarmer@yahoo.comEXAMPLE OF A SINGLE PLOT OF WHICH WE OWN AND PRODUCE THIRTY25-May-10 Brazil Factors USA ConversionCurrency conversion US$= R$1.86Area 10 hectares 23 acresNo Trees 10000 10000Manpower Required Annual 2Mo sal & benefits less housing R$ 800.00 $430.00Production per area (kg) 2250Market price (25 May 2010) per kg R$ 6.00 $3.20Annual sal & benefits less housing R$ 9,600.00 $5,161.00Area labor costs (2 men) R$ 19,200.00 $10,322.00Gross annual sales R$ 13,500.00 $7,258.00Cost deficit per area (labor only) R$ 5,700.00 $3,070.00Area break even production (kg) 3200Production deficit per area (kg) 950Labor cost per kg R$8.53 $4.53Labor cost break even price per ton R$ 8,530.00 $ 4,530.00Current world marketprice R$ 5,952.00 $3,200.00Additional Cost Not Included25 employee housing units+maintwater distribution systemelectrical energyfermentation techniciananimal manager (transport cacau/maintain animals)employee superintendantprofessional services (account, legal, medical)12 mules and assoc equip to transport beans1 tractor and trailer to transport beans+maintdiesel /gasolinefarm impliments+maint+replacement1 fermentation house+maint9 sun dryer houses(84 m2)+maint1 wood dryer bldg(100m2)+maint1bean storage warehouse(90m2)+maintschool+maintchurch+ maintstate taxesfederal taxesmedical assistanceproperty taxes 1000 acres farm land
Jim2
@Jim2
05/14/10 07:58:14PM
49 posts

Source of single origin beans


Posted in: Classifieds

David,I am a producer of excellent quality beans...I assume they are single origin as they are all producedand processed in our farm. No co-op, no intermediary.Jim LucasFazenda VenturosaFloresta Azul Bahia Brazilcacaufarmer@yahoo.com
Jim2
@Jim2
01/25/10 03:30:26AM
49 posts

Organic Cocoa Beans


Posted in: Opinion

Methyl Bromide is the agent used to fumigate cocoa beans and wooden pallets. A process that has been used for many years to prevent the importation" of insects and other pests. There are other ways to obtain pest free certificates but at additional costs.Excerpt from workers safety manualHealth effects of methyl bromideMethyl bromide is highly toxic to humans and animals. It may be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Acute exposure can cause severe chemical burns of the skin, eyes and airways, delayed chemical pneumonia which produces water in the lungs, severe kidney damage and has devastating effects on the central nervous system. The effects may be fatal.If a person inhales smaller amounts of methyl bromide it may produce effects that give the appearance of alcohol intoxication such as mental confusion, double vision, tremors, lack of co-ordination and slurred speech. Repeated mild exposures accumulate and cause skin rashes.The most likely mode of exposure is by inhalation of the gas. The gas cannot be smelt until at dangerous concentrations so exposure above acceptable levels may occur unknowingly. Methyl bromide may also cause burns to the skin or eyes and may be absorbed through the skin. Soil applications are particularly likely to cause burns to the feet and legs.The effect of methyl bromide poisoning is permanent and irreversible. If any symptoms occur within 24 hours of exposure then medical attention is required.
Jim2
@Jim2
12/29/09 06:52:40PM
49 posts

Cocoa beans at great prices


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Robbie,I am a cacau farmer living in Brazil and export superior beans. When you speak of "large amounts" what does that mean? Sacks? Tons? Containers?You can contact me direct at cacaufarmer@yahoo.combest regardsJim Lucas
updated by @Jim2: 09/08/15 06:42:40PM
Jim2
@Jim2
09/17/09 08:43:09PM
49 posts

An interesting alternative to "conventional" fair trade certification?


Posted in: Opinion

Clay,This is an interesting new twist!!! I don't know who or what IBD are but it reads like a menu for utopia!!!!What are the costs for this service? I am interested in starting a Lucas Certificate and would like to know what the going rate is.To begin with, virtually all of the items covered with the exception of "Fair Trade" are required by Brazilian legislation. There must be more than 5000 of these operations in Brazil. I personally know of one individual that opened an Environmental University and is living quiet well on the income and grants provided by supporters from outside Brazil. Some of the items that I have to comply with are:1. 20% of our entire property has to be placed in an environmental reserve "Reserve Legal".....no utilization whatsoever. You can't clean it, farm it or otherwise disturb the natural growth of weeds, trees, grass etc. In our case this represents 438 acres. This land was purchased and titled in 1919. Recent law took 20% and we received ZILCH! To make it more distasteful, I have to pay the Government Approved survey team and produce maps which also are annotated by a Government Approved Forestry Engineer who identifies the types of trees, flowers, vines and bushes that grow in the environmental reserve.2. If you are fortunate enough to have a river flowing in the property (we have 2) the border of the rivers are in another legal reserve. You are not allowed to divert any of the water for your use without governmental permission and with fees for the volume consumed. The perimeters may not be cleaned or otherwise utilized. Otherwise used includes prohibition of livestock from drinking from or grazing on the area defined. I had one hell of a hard time training my cattle, horses and mules to stay out of the area!3. Utilization of wood, including trees that die and fall to the ground are not to be used until permission is obtained from Federal Government Agencies. In our region there are more than five regulatory agencies. You can't imagine the difficulty encountered in getting an "Authorized Government Forestry Engineer" to come to your farm and certify that the tree actually died and fell to the ground.4. All farm workers are 200% protected by the "Workers Laws"! In addition to paying the highest minimum wages in the cocoa industry, I am required to pay for 30 days of vacation each year, which also has a 33% bonus so the employee can enjoy his leisure time off. We also are required to pay a value equal to 10% of the salary into a government retirement program. There are approximately 20 paid holidays each year. The workers perform 44 hours each week....and those who do not miss a days work receive payment for 1/2 day Saturday and a full day for Sunday. I contribute R$25.00 (US$14.00) per month for each child in the family under the age of 14. If the employee is sick or injured I get to pay for the first 15 days of absence. This is per illness and no limit to the number of events.. All hours over 44 are paid at 1-1/2 time and weekends and holidays are 2X wage rate. I am also required to pay a 13th month salary in December to allow Merry Christmas. Stringent laws define protective clothing and equipment and heavy fins await violations. By the way if I need to lay a worker off, I have to pay a 50% penalty based on the value of the workers retirement fund. ( 10% of the entire salary paid during the employment history) Imagine having to lay a worker off that has been in the force for 20-25 years.In addition to the listed "benefits" we provide FREE housing and maintain a school and church inside the farm. The teachers are provided by the state but the school and it's maintenance are paid out of our earnings.Child labor is non- existent in commercial farms. It's fine for families to work 10 year old children but used in commercial farms, under 18years is HUGE FINES!!!!!With this formula for operation, I also am under the Government Production Analyst to ensure that levels of production are within governmental guidelines. This year the levels were increased approx 100%. If you fail to meet the guidelines, your farm can be seized and reassigned to "family farmers" . This constitutes "Agrarian Reform".Is there someone out there that is interested in purchasing a model cacau farm in Brazil?Before you become an advocate of the "Let Me Certify You" groups, do your homework.
Jim2
@Jim2
08/05/09 07:21:42PM
49 posts

Salon du Chocolat 2009 in Paris


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Clay,I am looking forward to receiving the names/e-mail regarding bean samples. We are still on for Paris but each day the dollar is weakening and travel out of Brasil is really becoming a budget problem. We have lost 35% of the dollars value this year....B RegardsJim
Jim2
@Jim2
07/22/09 09:00:44PM
49 posts

Salon du Chocolat 2009 in Paris


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Hello Ivica and Clay,From what I have heard you are right Clay. For the first time I am going to attend the Salon in Paris. As soon as I find out more details I will let you know.I am a cocoa grower from Brazil and want to get new contacts/info also as you Ivica. It would be nice if we could meet there.Clay are you going to attend it? Do you know of any other members who are planning to attend?It would be nice to meet face to face and exchange ideas.Lola Gedeon
Jim2
@Jim2
07/19/09 06:13:04PM
49 posts

Sourcing raw cacao from Peru - Satipo?


Posted in: Classifieds

Emma,Drop me a note at cacaufarmer@yahoo.com. I am a cacau farmer in Brazil and would like to send samples of our superior cacau. Brazil's cacau beans are not well known because the country consumes far more than it produces. Brazil is a huge importer of cacau beans that are processed for cacau butter and then exported world wide. There are some excellent quality cacau produced and processed here. I am not a resales house, we are as close as you can get to the source..Best regardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
07/04/09 07:25:20AM
49 posts

Has anyone heard of xocai the healthy chocolate


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Melissa,In the 15 years of cacau farming and production I have delivered several hundred tons of fermented, dried, cacau beans. Although I have witnessed many processes utilized, I am unable to find one that fits the description "cold pressed unproccesed and in is naturalest form possible". In addition, conversations with other producers and chocolate manufacturers in our region are unable to recognize the process.Please let me know who and where this process is applied.I will not speak to blueberries as we are not fortunate enough to grow them in my region of Brasil, BUT.....in the collection, pod opening and transport of cacau beans, there are many inoculations made of things "unhealthy." Since the beans are "in is naturalest form possible", I'm assuming the are not systematically fermented or dried. What do you do with this slurry of beans and liquor now?One other item worth mentioning...Acai is notorious for housing the "charga beetle", and if the acai is also "in is naturalest form possible", the riisk of developing a serious heart disease is highly possible. This disease causes the heart to enlarge until death occurs. There is no known cure.I'm for healthy lifestyles, but, that includes caution with regard to what is consumed.I will be waiting for more details regarding "who" and "where" of the referenced procedures.
Jim2
@Jim2
04/30/09 01:48:15PM
49 posts

Total Travesty


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Samantha,Your comments regarding the vitality of cacau under shade are bang on. One of the most serious problems existing in the cacau industry of Brazil today is the battle between cacau farmers and environmentalist. There exist farms that were extremely productive in 1920 that today are completely abandonded. If you review the farms records, it is likely that you will find the attempts made generations ago to integrate rubber and cacau.......today you need a battery powered lamp to find the cacau trees because of shading.The best producing portionns of our farms are those that have been DRASTICALLY opened to sunlight and trimmed to permit infiltration of light. There's a new breed of cacau farmers that have begun to apply technology instead of "fairy tales".Keep your commentary coming...it's a breath of fresh air.Best regardsJim Lucas
Jim2
@Jim2
04/20/09 06:33:41PM
49 posts

Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51


Posted in: Opinion

I've been facinated by the production of cocoa beans in Ecuador. The "facts", as published within the net have left my head spinning. One recently consumed sourcehttp://www.ecuadorcocoaarriba.com/eng/about-cocoa-arriba-ecuador.phpdepict a series of numbers that make me want to move out of Brazil and into Ecuador....." Between 1880 and 1890 Ecuador was the prime producer of cocoa worldwide. In early 1900 Ecuador decreased the production because of different diseases as the escoba de bruja and la monilla, these devastating diseases almost destroyed all the plantations. Also World War I helped with the reduction of the exportations. In spite of that, the country kept working to keep one of its more precious treasures alive.Today the cocoa chain is the third more relevant after the bananas and flowers. The production in the year 2004 was of 111.000 metric tons and more than 100.000 small producers where involved, making a profit of almost 150 million dollars. Ecuador is the first producer worldwide of the quality and scent cocoa (63% of the worlds production "100,000 producers111,000 tons produced1.1 ton/ producerAnnual sales /producer US$ 2530Profit $US 150M profitMarket price today US$ 2300/ton X 111,000 Gross sales US$255,300,000Profit 65.2%Average producer ANNUAL gross profit US$ 1650 (US$2530 X 65.2% )Average Mo Income $ 137.00
Jim2
@Jim2
03/05/09 05:43:07AM
49 posts

Good Brazilian Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Sarah,Although there are many chocolate shops and manufacturers in Brazil, some of high quality, 99.9% are users of Cargill, ADM, Nestle or Callibut products. Bean to bar is not in existant. There are currently several small attempts to start-up but have not formally begun to operate.The cacau producing region is in the Northeast and very warm and humid, Not very conducive for producing high end chocolate. Most known brands are produced in the South or Mid-south, i.e. Sao Paulo. In addition, the economic level of Brazil's population does not support bean-bar prices.I wish you would have contacted us before your travels in Brazil as it would have been a pleasure to have you visit our cacau farms and the regions that produce. Next time!Best regardsJim Lucas
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