SAYING it is a strong advocate for the revitalisation of the cocoa industry, the Rancho Quemado Estates Ltd (RQEL) has hosted its first Cocoa May Fair. People who visited the 45-acre estate in the southwest on Thursday received a wealth of information about cocoa and products derived from it. The estate produces cocoa powder, cocoa butter, soap and cocoa wine.
La Brea MP Nicole Olivierre referred to the estate as a hidden gem as well as a pioneer in promoting agro and ecotourism. She said cocoa production is deeply rooted in the history of this country since colonisation by the Spaniards. The golden years of cocoa production were between 1866 and 1920.
“Our locally produced cocoa is internationally recognised as being of the highest quality. We are not a bulk producer. It is really important that as farmers you maintain that high standard,” she said.
There were several tents at the fair. Members of the Cocoa Development Company (CDCTTL), in collaboration with the Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ministry, explained the pruning process. Director of the estate Daniel Brash said the company does everything the “organic way” and so it’s a plus for nature.
“Here is like a hub for other small cocoa farmers in the area. Most of our workers are from the area. They have been involved with the cocoa industry from young. After harvests, they come here and dance the cocoa.