Cocoa is a priority crop in Samoa. Although markets have reopened for the export of this commodity, supply is a major constraint. PHAMA stepped in to assist, with particular focus on the supply side of the value chain.
The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa had earlier conducted a PHAMA-funded study that compared local fermentation and drying methods with proven methods by another Australian-funded study in Vietnam. The results of that study showed that the overseas fermentation and drying methods produced better quality cocoa beans for chocolate making.
The objectives of this on-farm trial were to implement the proven overseas method on the farm site and confirm the effects on the quality of cocoa beans and resultant end products. The ultimate goal is to use an evidence-based approach to improve local fermentation practices to ensure the quality of cocoa beans. This work was implemented on a farm site with the aim of conducting much larger trials using selected farmers’ resources. Results gathered from the trials will be used to formulate a National Standard for the export of fermented, dried cocoa beans.