A cocoa store in Kenema Town, workers rushing to remove out the cocoa beans from under the rain.
Cocoa is a perennial cash crop that finds its origins in South America. Nonetheless, the biggest cocoa producers are currently African countries.
The harvesting of the cocoa pods spreads over several months. In Sierra Leone, the harvest takes place between June and January.
Once collected, the pods are split open and the seeds removed. The seeds are then put in heaps for fermentation. In Sierra Leone, banana leaf layered baskets are typically used to ferment cocoa beans. Proper fermentation should last 5-7 days. The fermented cocoa beans are then sun-dried for another 5-7 days (or more depending on the weather).
Sierra Leonean cocoa is entirely processed on the farms (fermentation and drying) before it is traded.
As a rule, buying agents roam around the countryside and buy cocoa directly from the farmers. This cocoa is then transported to warehouses in towns, like Kenema in Sierra Leone, where it is either re-traded or simply collected. Cocoa then undergoes additional drying in industrial dryers and brought to low moisture content to prevent moulding.
Finally, cocoa is bagged and shipped to the port in Freetown for export.
Buy Sierra Leone Chocolates here:
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Wanda1 (14922) 2013-12-20 0:36
I just heard on the news this morning that the price for cocoa is set to increase world wide as a commoditiy due to the increase in chocolate sales. They seem to have a lot of hard work to do here to gather in all the cocoa before it gets wet. A nice daily life action scene from this part of the world.