we source cocoa beans and products from all major producing origins. In Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, we source on the ground and operate warehouses and export facilities. We actively originate cocoa beans from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Our vast network and capabilities, however, provide us with a platform to source beans from other origins. We also source cocoa products from the United States and Europe as well as from producing countries.
- Cocoa beans are produced around the world in countries along the equator.
- Slightly under half of the world’s cocoa bean production is processed in the same country where it was harvested, with the remainder being exported for processing.
- The main producers are Ivory Coast and Ghana in Africa. Production in Ecuador in South America is rising.
- Europe is both the largest total importer of cocoa and the largest processing region.
- Our main activities in the cocoa market involve the safe transport of cocoa beans from their country of harvest to overseas processors.
Cocoa is a fragile cash crop, often grown by small-holder farmers in remote areas: two factors which contribute to the difficulty of sourcing cocoa. In order to originate cocoa successfully, therefore we build long term partnerships with farmers and suppliers, thereby helping to secure the supply of cocoa. When appropriate, our Bank also provides pre-financing in an effort to help improve the liquidity within the supply chain.
Cocoa is a natural crop grown mainly on sustainable family farms across equatorial regions of Africa, South East Asia and South America. Normally it is intercropped with other plants such as plantain, maize and spices which not only give essential shade to the young cocoa trees but also provide food and additional income for the family. The early stages of processing happen on the farm. First the pods are harvested and split to extract the pulp and beans. This is wrapped in leaves and left to ferment for about seven days, which produces the chocolate brown color and flavor we all know. The beans are then separated and sun-dried for roughly 10 days before being transported to the local mill for cleaning, grading and then onward shipment to the manufacturer. At the manufacturer’s factory the beans are roasted. Then the shells are crushed and removed in a wind-blown process known as winnowing which isolates the seeds (or ‘nibs’ as they are known). By this stage the flavors and aromas of chocolate are very recognizable. The nibs are ground into a thick brown liquid called cocoa liquor and further processed into the cocoa powder and butter used in chocolate confectionary, drinks and cooking.