Cacao de Origen raises awareness

The 'Cacao de Origen' project (CDO), led by Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, believes in the value of Venezuela's bean. Based on that passion, she has taken on the task of getting involved in each step of the chocolate production process to empower communities through education and training, to improve agricultural practices and optimise the quality of the product. The headquarters is currently in Caracas, within the Hacienda La Trinidad.  The work begins in the cocoa crop areas where she promotes biodiversity, organic farming and environmental protection. The training programme then continues with making the chocolate, where the project focuses on gender equality, competitiveness and fairtrade.

Once a producer is chosen to be part of the project, a programme starts in which the certainty of the high value of Venezuelan cacao is impregnated, they are taught to correct agricultural techniques and trained on processing the bean to turn it into a high quality product.

This last step is a source of employment and empowerment, especially for many women.

For producers who have already participated in the programme, Cacao de Origen is building a centre for cocoa bean collection, called the Banco de Germoplasma de Cacaos Finos Criollos, and a bean processing laboratory for the production of chocolate bars and other derivatives. The intention from there is to monitor and advise these producers to ensure the quality product remains competitive inside and outside Venezuela.

At the headquarters in Caracas, Cacao de Origen has a "bean to bar" laboratory that works with selected beans, and a shop where they sell products from the project.