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Day Four in the Solomon Islands.

Its 9am, and Kathe, Brian and I have just arrived for the first organic certification session in Kira Kira – Makira Island. We had 22 local cocoa farmers come to the event, there was lots of information to take in, lots of questions, and we finished off the event with some chocolate tasting that I made with one of the farmers beans. That was my favorite part.  We think the island of Makira will be easy to become certified, as no one uses chemicals here. The farmers work incredibly hard and use traditional farming practices, meaning it has a very low risk for contamination (like zero). One thing that stood out to me from our session was there was only one female...

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The land of bananas and the legend of the Kakamora

Sapped by the morning spent in the organic workshop, we rush off to the domestic airport – EnRoute the island of Makira. We are seated evenly to even out the weight in the tiny plane, which I'm sure would terrify anyone afraid or not of flying!  We take off quickly, and I can't help but sheepishly hold on tight to the chair, butterflies in my stomach. Did I mention tiny plane...Brian has been telling me about the local legends of the Solomon Islands, giants and the moon loving kakamora. I think of them living here as I'm looking down over the mountains and coconut plantations.   We arrive in no time, and Makira is another world! A wildly world, mapped...

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ORGANIC. A better choice for everyone.

Its day three in the Solomon Islands, this morning we are doing our first session with NAASA on the ins and outs of getting certified organic. We had 33 attendees, from bee farmers to coconuts, noni to kava. The local people here have heard that organic products are in demand, which not only make a difference to the earth, but can be used as a marketing tool to increase their local market and international export.   The session is ran by Kathe, the NAASA auditor and trainer, who is VERY passionate and knowledgeable on all things organic. She has over 20 years’ experience and has even had her own backyard certified. :-) Everyone here knows the basics, that organic means farming without...

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The ‘Feel Good’ business of chocolate

There's a growing awareness and demand for feel good products. Ethical and environmental issues are driving people to make more mindful choices that match their values, and chocolate is no exception. More people are seeking brands who embrace transparency, social, ethical and environmental responsibility, which is just another reason why project Organic Certified Cocoa is so important. But I'll get to that in the next blog post, which is day three, after the first NAASA certification session.    It’s the early morning of day two in the Solomon Islands. Stepping out of the hotel room, the water can be seen dazzling in the distance with sunlit turquoise and emerald hues. Its absolutely stunning. We get our coffee and a fresh...

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Welcome to the Solomon Islands

We have landed. A wave of heat and humidity hits us as we exit the plane. It's my first time in the Solomon Islands, a beautiful nation of hundreds of pristine islands in the South Pacific.  I'm here with Brian, the founder of Makira Gold, a privately funded Cacao Social Enterprise dedicated to enabling cacao farming communities in the Solomon Islands. Brian, half Australian and half Solomon Islander, is on a mission, and I'm here to help.  His vision is to provide economic opportunities for the impoverished rural community in this home village on Makira Island, and to strengthen the Solomon Islands specialty cacao industry.   So project Organic Certified Cocoa begins!   There is an increased demand and a growing...

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