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Showing posts with label cacao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cacao. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Indigenous Forest-to-Bar Chocolate

Forest Based Supply Chain Resolves Traceability Issues

Forest-to-Bar Chocolate made by the Piaroa

By Col. David J. Wright, Goodwill Ambassador for Globcal International

We are working with the humble and peaceful Piaroa people of the Guiana Highlands in Southern Venezuela's Indigenous State of Amazonas to produce fine craft chocolate bars using their own unique wild harvested uncommon cacao and a variety of locally sourced ingredients to introduce new flavors and experiences for chocolate lovers using specially processed natural superfoods, medicinal honey and exotic fruits. The consumer product will be harvested, processed and manufactured all by the cooperative before being exported to international consumers, using blockchain technology.

We are calling our company De'Aruhuä Cacao, which means "Cacao from the Guardians of the Forest." and the company will form part of the Piaroa Partnership Platform (PPP) which is being promoted through the UN Sustainable Development Platform.

The chocolate bar factory that the company wants to build will be located in Caracas, Venezuela because it is simply the best place to make fine chocolate, has an industry support network and the easiest place in Venezuela to do international business for the indigenous Piaroa. There are also advantages for the Piaroa that want to get advanced education degrees or attend certificate workshops at the Central University in Caracas while working here in the factory.

Blockchain Technology

Today people want to know more about their food, they want to know where it came from, they want to know the ingredients and moreover today they want to know who made their food? We are resolving this through the use of blockchain technology that implements smartphones, GPS, photographs and an administrative application which in turn is connected to a consumer app. We are currently looking at several blockchain systems that support agricultural products, thus far we are most impressed with the systems being developed by CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation).

Following their harvest the beans are fermented (cured) in their own pulp for 8 days covered by banana leaves.
De'Aruhuä Cacao's business is being developed in such a way that forest, land and product management all occur in the cacao growing and harvesting process, the actual individual trees are each numbered and identified by the computer on a geographical grid each time a tree is visited, there is no need to tag them. The coordinates, weather, time of day and other pertinent data are all recorded using an application. Since we are dealing with many types of wild trees in addition to Theobroma cacao over a large area the use of GPS mapping and satellite tracking is also useful to our indigenous agroecologists in order to find the trees that they plant and help mother nature to maintain.

Forest-to-Bar refers to our supply chain, in essence we are stating that the cacao and wild fruit we harvest, ferment, dry and process is the same cacao, from the same origin that is being sent to the factory and made into chocolate bars by our own cooperators that work there. Each step of the supply chain from the harvest to the final chocolate bar is controlled, documented and monitored as each process occurs.

The factory (laboratory/kitchen) we are projecting will be a 120 square meter state-of-the-art small-batch chocolate making facility producing 80 kilos of fine chocolate every three days, with the ability to triple output based on efficiency improvements and/or hiring additional staff members.

Getting Started

All people have dreams, ideals and plans that they hope to fulfill in life; some are great ideas that are often short lived because we lack the motivation or determination to pursue all of them; and lets face it some ideas were never that great to begin with after investigating and researching the steps required to turn them into a reality. This is less likely to occur when a group of individuals gets involved, others depend on an idea and yet others that support the idea join into the group of idealists based on its merits.

We know many peoples' ideas based on creative thoughts are often too far-flung to be practical and why most ideas never get too far, but that is not the case with the De'Aruhuä Cacao business plan. De'Aruhuä is a very feasible and practical endeavor that can produce 80,000-100,000 chocolate bars per year (first year) and produce 25 tons per year of direct-trade F1 Piaroa cacao for distribution to other chocolate makers. We are dealing with 35 very real indigenous farmers, thousands of square kilometers of wilderness territory, 20,000 cacao trees and 13 different villages where over 500 people depend on subsistence agriculture and agroforestry to meet their needs.

The only thing missing now is an FDA registered chocolate factory which Globcal International believes the Piaroa should have based on their consistency, presentation, persistence and solidarity with us over the past year and a half. The organization is developing an international initiative involving goodwill, sustainable development, economic empowerment, education, environmental protection, indigenous rights and global citizenship around the chocolate factory to efficiently target 12 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Understanding the financial position of the indigenous Piaroa is not hard if you visit them in person, you will quickly discover they live well-below the poverty line, are mostly unemployed, lack basic welfare services, most live without electricity, cannot provide a proper education for their children and live on a per capita income of less than $60 per year, that is if they go to the town to collect the government benefits, in total it is about 15 cents a day. Agriculture and their forest is really all that they have to make a decent living..

Terms - How to get Involved?

Despite not having any money to build a chocolate factory we have thirty-five Piaroa farmers bringing to the table up-to 30 metric tons of agricultural production, they are willing to work as facilitators across a 5,000 square kilometer territory providing global ecosystem services and most importantly want to protect their territory, culture and traditions. In addition to this we are their neighbors and want to see them do well.

We believe based on what they have is enough to get started, the real estate they occupy and control is 5,000 square kilometers it is worth billions, moreover it is potentially worth millions more annually if it can be used for carbon credit offsets paid directly to the Piaroa International Fund by a country or large corporation, they have other ecosystem services they can market like ecotourism, they have 35 farmers engaged with up to three or four helpers each ready and willing to work, plus they have 20,000 cacao trees in the ground growing and have delegated authorized representatives to the project.

Wild grown single-origin forest based source of cacao.
Withasmuch Globcal International along with Ecology Crossroads in the United States is getting behind the Piaroa and is developing a project online as an official partnership opportunity involving the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Globcal International believes by creating a larger UN SDGs Initiative with a clear mission around the chocolate factory project is the best way forward making the social enterprise a public and private partnership that serves everyone's needs.

Two Distinct Projects in One

The initiative listed on the UN SDGs Partnership site is called "Indigenous Agroforestry & Ecosystem Protectorate for the Piaroa of the Orinoco" officially known as the Piaroa Protectorate Partnership (PPP) which is also known as the Piaroa Partnership Platform.

To accomplish this the organization needs donations, grants and partnerships to raise between $450,000-$640,000 to invest directly into the Piaroa communities which will be managed offshore from Venezuela remotely by Globcal International which will administer the community development projects in the Indigenous State of Amazonas through the organization's indigenous members. Ecology Crossroads as the trustee of the fund will provide investors, members and partners providing financial resources the ability to monitor transparently funding and profit disposition to employees, investors, providers and beneficiaries using Google Sheets.

Aside from developing a program providing infrastructure improvements for building safe and sustainable human settlements we need to raise $490,000 offering secured equitable funding to build a turn-key bean-to-bar craft chocolate factory and operate for two full years! To do this in our business plan we are evaluating the business concept, the business plan, all of the legal work that has been done already, the trademark of the brand, the website, and social media IP at one million US dollars, less what we need to become operative and purchase the real estate, remodel the facility, purchase machinery, install equipment, pay employees, purchase materials, and all the other expenses involved to produce chocolate for two full years.

To raise the funds that are needed the company is offering 49% of its equity as Class A Preferred Shares, that is 49,000/100,000 of them, to investors and cooperative social enterprise memberships for anyone who is a chocolate expert, lover, maker, connoisseur or person who believes in the principles of cooperation. As a cooperative there are up to 100 members which are all equal, meaning the maximum membership or voting potential of a person is equal to one, a full voting membership (1%) in the cooperative is 1,000 shares under these terms. The shares can be purchased now without any fees for $10 each directly from Ecology Crossroads and go to the De'Aruhuä Trust.

What we need now is funding, good management, transparency and organization by involving additional stakeholders, partners and investors looking for a nominal moderate gain. The price of shares will probably be increased to $11 or $12 each once the project is ready for crowdfunding to offset the costs of using the crowdfunding platforms. The crowdfunding campaign plans are to use Gust, Indiegogo and Wefunder, it was discussed that we begin the first crowdfunding campaign in October or November if we have enough early interest.

The grander initiative which the chocolate factory will eventually support involves community improvements to facilitate general health and well-being of the residents of 13 indigenous settlements to maintain community centers, water wells, sanitary bath/wash houses, septic systems and educational programs focused on agroecology, biodiversity, ecosystem services, ecotourism and forest management.

You can support the chocolate factory as member or investor if you are an individual that has an interest in the business of chocolate. To support the Piaroa Community Revitalization project with the PPP as an individual you can make a donation or as a corporation, organization, foundation, or nation you can become a recognized partner in the Piaroa Protectorate Partnership.

You can read more about the chocolate factory and SDGs initiative at our website

Sunday, October 6, 2019

De'Aruhuä Indigenous Craft Chocolate

The Beginning, First Blog Post

Never Thought I Would Be in the Chocolate Business

By Col. David J. Wright, Goodwill Ambassador for Globcal International

Several years ago I began a quest to live as far away from modern civilization and as close to primitive civilization as I could get and still be on the map. After 10 years of searching and visiting a region East outside of Puerto Ayacucho in Venezuela I finally got my wish and purchased a 40 hectare foundation (hobby farm) in 2013 which I decided to make into an ecovillage, its called Ekobius. It is the last non-indigenous private property located at kilometer 24 of the Via Gavilan roadway and is bordered on three sides by indigenous Piaroa territory, the next piece of private property or roadway to the South or East is over 1,000 kilometers in either direction located in Brazil or Guyana, literally at the edge of civilization bordered by wilderness.

Six indigenous Piaroa persons
Indigenous Piaroa Cacaoteros of Paraguaza visiting Caracas

The Piaroa, also known as the De'Aruhuä (day-are-wa) are the original inhabitants of the Guiana Highlands region (forested foothill canyons of the Guiana Shield) in the Indigenous State of Amazonas. In the Piaroa language their name De'Aruhuä means, "Guardians of the Forest" or "Masters of the Forest." It took several years before they warmed up to us as our friends. About a year ago some of the Piaroa people I know from having the ecovillage came to visit me while I was working in Caracas, they came to ask for my help to help them export to Germany where they heard they could get fair-trade pricing for the agricultural production of wild cacao. Traditionally they have only provided cacao for several local traders, however since 2014 it has become more difficult to get fair pricing from who are now government associated buyers.

This led me to spend several days investigating and researching online through every available source I was connected to including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help them find a market for their cacao. Personally at the time I did not know much about cacao or chocolate, except I had several trees at the Amazon farm which I had because of my horticultural interest in the plant and I knew that the neighbors (some indigenous families) grow it in the forests. I also discovered from them that the farmers were receiving less than $1 per kilo (sometimes as little as 30 cents) for their F1 premium cacao in Puerto Ayacucho, far below the fairtrade value and the quality being delivered. I immediately wanted to see them compete directly with the cacao traders, wholesalers and retailers, so I began the journey with them.

From the research I performed online I discovered that the Piaroa cacao was being used by a number of different companies to make fine and aromatic chocolate (companies like Soma, Castronovo, Tisana, and Escazu) and that their raw cocoa beans were being offered online for as much as $5-7 per pound in the United States and Europe. It was about then that I met Clay Gordon online using LinkedIn, he is a chocolate expert and author, he has an interactive blog and forum TheChocolateLife; Clay took an interest in the Piaroa beans and offered me some advice and help connecting with others who could provide a market for the beans. We spoke for several hours one day about chocolate and the importance of the genetics, cru and terroir of the Piaroa cocoa. 

So I spent some time following up on Clay's advice writing to several buyers of fine cacao and sending a few samples out. While everyone we contacted were impressed with the Piaroa cocoa beans the red tape involved for the Piaroa to directly export their beans under the political circumstances are too much to bear and not practical without a commitment. Although we could find several potential buyers in North America after customs declarations, duty, freight and handling charges it became too complex for the size of their endeavor.

After probably 3-4 weeks learning all that I could about cacao (cocoa) and chocolate, writing 20 emails and sending out 10 samples I began to discuss with the Piaroa the idea of making the chocolate themselves, I proposed that by providing some of the people from their community we could make an indigenous produced product that would have very unique natural qualities. After several discussions with Piaroa community leaders we decided to start a chocolate company for their cacao with them. 

I see many positive benefits in making chocolate, I love doing it as well, and I have a good background in food science, but if you had asked me 5 years ago I never would have imagined or thought about becoming a chocolate maker, much less with my indigenous neighbors.

Starting a Cooperative Chocolate Factory with the Piaroa

After meeting with more than 30 Piaroa people from the remote Paraguaza communities and knowing well another 150 neighbors who know me on the Catañiapo River, I know the Piaroa are not of a capitalist mindset, however like the rest of the people in the world they work and produce goods for money to buy essentials. The Piaroa are very peaceful, resourceful, reserved and humble people; as an indigenous culture they are most comparable to the Amish or Hutterites as a peaceful people, they are more focused on their communal values, well-being and the benefits that can be derived unconditionally in their communities from cooperation by their members together.

Man raking cacao (cocoa beans).
Drying cacao (cocoa beans) on the Upper Paraguaza River in Venezuela.

Living around the Piaroa and learning to respect them as a distinctive people with their own culture, traditions, customs, language and world-view; I also began to accept their differences and understand what was important to them and how to work with them successfully, it took just as long for them to trust me as their neighbor. In the Piaroa culture the ideal of competition among others or stockpiling of resources is evil, whereas cooperation is lauded, the concept of equality is prevalent between both men and women in Piaroa society. The Piaroa have a perfect combination of personal characteristics and social values for a cooperative business.

By involving me and the ideals of Globcal International the Piaroa are taking their first step towards sustainability, now two of their tribal members are now also ambassadors with Globcal International. Our cooperative social enterprise will include the entire supply chain, "forest-to-bar" chocolate considering the extent of territory and demographics we are developing a case study for the project to launch it as an initiative of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because of the social impact that can be generated, it will potentially qualify for much more support from investment than anyone would have anticipated, as a relevant cause. Currently this project targets 12 of the 17 SDGs.

By June of 2019 we began to let our intentions be known about becoming involved in the development of a chocolate factory which we called "De'Aruhuä Cacao" which would be socially justified, managed and used to generate funding for the Piaroa communities and for Globcal International social investors. We began to develop a business plan by the end of the month. 

Early into writing the plan I contacted Clay Gordon again, this time on Facebook and asked him to look over the plan, he agreed and gave me a few tips and we chatted further. Later after getting along a bit more with the business plan, I invited Clay to become a member in the cooperative formation and to help us author the business plan. Clay signed onto the project as an advisor, consultant and business developer providing his professional services as an authority on chocolate and to fact check the plan, in late August he wrote the introduction.

He created the ideal of a single cooperative entity called and described simply as the Piaroa Partnership Platform (PPP) which he suggested, "a cooperative social enterprise, in which investment can be sought, monies disbursed, oversight undertaken, training given, cocoa purchased, chocolate produced, and finished products marketed and sold internationally." Both of the Piaroa representatives that I am working with were very impressed with the ideals presented in the PPP proposal in the plan so they were adopted immediately.

Building the Ideal and Making it Real

To make the ideal of Piaroa Forest-to-Bar chocolate a reality I began taking the steps of creating an identity around the company and project the name in the social media. For lack of having professional photography and video productions we are still short in what we need for a well done presentation, however that will change soon and expect some very good photographs soon. Our logo is nice it is based on a Piaroa petroglyph. We are also already invested in three tons of their cacao, which we have on hand now.
The PPP is also under alternative development and open to partnership formation focused on their protection of a 5,000 square kilometer protectorate area through sponsored international scouting programs and providing agroforestry extension services in cacao growing communities. Globcal International has worked up a plan that is attractive to other countries as part of their national interest, important to nonprofits, ngos, educational institutions and the public in general that may want to help protect this biosphere and watershed protection area.

The plan currently under development and seeking partnerships is published online at the United Nations SDGs Partnership website as "Indigenous Agroforestry & Ecosystem Protectorate for the Piaroa of the Orinoco." The total cost of the PPP community interest project initiatives to be executed in the Piaroa communities is between $450,000-$630,000 to build the infrastructure in the communities to remove people from abject-poverty like conditions, supply the farmers with good hand tools, provide working clothes, build community centers, provide training, dig solar wells and construct new bathhouses, these activities will be developed and implemented in 13 selected villages based on goodwill and international cooperation development. These are among some of the things we hope to accomplish by connecting this project with the UN SDGs Agenda. Currently just a fundraising goal for initiating focused community improvements and implementing programs ad hoc based on budgets being fulfilled and new partnership developments. 

As an SDGs Partnership Initiative of Globcal International the PPP qualifies for donations, grants, in-kind gifts and technical support from a great number of sources including departments of the United Nations, international foundations, non-governmental organizations, foreign embassies, international governmental organizations, corporations and individuals.   

The business plan for the chocolate factory and De'Aruhuä brand is being developed independently as a part of the PPP, it will be owned by its own cooperative and private investors, likewise belong to the PPP, practically the facility will be a laboratory standard chocolate factory that can produce anyone's chocolate and provide a seal of origin. It will cost approximately $490,000 for the entire first two years of operations, including all real estate, remodeling, labor, materials, maintenance, supplies, training, utilities, and overhead to produce the first $1.5 million dollars worth of chocolate, that is a $1 million dollar profit in the first two years after expenses. Less the logistics, interest and administration of the business in subsequent years (from the third-year forward), the factory will be able to produce over 1 million dollars per year in chocolate at a cost of less than $100K per year to supply and operate. The factory would be community operated cooperative that produces chocolate as a sustainable way to produce a social benefit that accomplishes its greater goal. 

There is more information on how to invest in the chocolate factory on the original website which was established earlier this year or you can invest here for $10 per share if you purchase a minimum of 10 shares you will be considered a non-voting member and consumer, currently we are accepting 1% memberships which is 1000 shares. The business plan is available to all those who join the PPP (De'Aruhuä Cacao) with 100 shares or more in the chocolate factory, it is also made available to members of Globcal International programs. If you would like a formal invitation please email dearuhua@globcal.net to request one.