A long tradition of cocoa
The history of cocoa on the islands dates back to 1822 when the Portuguese introduced cocoa trees from Brazil to Príncipe.
This quickly developed into a large scale agricultural enterprise harnessing the Portuguese plantation or “roças” model. At the beginning of the 20th century São Tomé, with an annual production of 35,000 tonnes of cocoa, was not only the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans but also the uncontested leader in terms of quality.
The rest of the story
Over the following 40 years the island’s plantations fell into an increasing state of abandonment because of a combination of political and economic factors. At the time of independence, cocoa production had fallen drastically to 12,000 tonnes because of poor management practices at the national level. By 1988 annual production was as low as 3,000 tonnes and production has remained at these depressed levels ever since, with production levels falling to 2,000 tonnes at the end of 2012.
Love at first sight
Since foundation in 2010 Satocao has placed restoring the reputation of São Tomé e Príncipe as a world renowned Cocoa brand amongst its top priorities. The country’s small and medium sized planters were quickly brought on board with this objective in order to achieve increased volumes of production and improvements in quality. Through this outgrower partnership the company is helping to build a bridge with the strong technical knowledge base that exists on the island and to further develop it through the introduction of better management systems and modern equipment.