Unlike coffee and other crops, most farmers have never tasted chocolate made with their own beans. When Pod first started producing chocolate the challenges faced by local farmers was threefold; low yield, pest attacks and low prices. Many farmers had cut down their cacao to plant other crops, and many other farmers where considering to do the same.
In the three years that Pod developed its first production techniques and recipes, a parallel process took place in nearby farms together with local farmers. How do we increase yield? How do we control the predominant pest, the cocoa pod borer? How do we add value for the farmers? And most importantly, how do we do it all sustainably?
The answers constitute an evolving mix of sustainable agronomic practices; the use of micro-organisms to improve soil fertility, improved pest management techniques to break the breeding cycle of pests without spraying chemicals and proper post-harvest techniques, in particular fermentation, to improve the quality of beans.
Through the adoption of these often simple yet effective agronomic practices, many farmers have been able to double their production of cacao, and with Pod’s pricing mechanism, farmers are receiving up to double the price for their beans compared to what they previously got from brokers.
Next to cacao, the second biggest ingredient used by Pod Bali is sugar. Which is why Pod has a big focus on a healthy, locally grown sugar - unrefined organic flower nectar - produced in the remote area of Muntigunung in Northeast Bali from the lontar tree. This is where life changing work is being done by the Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise of which Pod is a proud supporter.
Bali and Indonesia is a constant source of inspiration, from local markets and food stalls, jungles, valleys and volcanoes there is a seemingly endless bounty of fruits and spices which will continue to be incorporated into Pod’s growing range of products while acting as a tool to add value and support local farmers. Farmers you also support with every bar of Pod Chocolate.
Learn more about Pod and conservation.