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Bahia notebook: How cocoa was given a new lease of life using old methods - video

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa bean, Editor's spotlight, Brazil

When Agrícola Condurú took over an abandoned cocoa plantation six years ago, the growers slowly brought it back to life, using the unique cabruca system to preserve the forest.

The Luz do Vale farm (featured in the video) is located in the Rio do Braço region of south Bahia and is owned by Agrícola Condurú, which belongs to the Brazilian billionaire entrepreneur Guilherme Leal, founder of Natura.

In a blog for the World Cocoa Foundation​, Leal explains how he got into the cocoa business after buying a coastal holiday home in the region.

It first started in 2012 as a sustainable cocoa farming experiment that focused on studying and improving the traditional cabruca system, which makes it possible to produce cocoa beans while preserving the surrounding natural vegetation​,” he writes. “Next, we formed partnerships to support the creation of the Cocoa Innovation Center at the Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz (Uesc), which tests and evaluates the quality of the beans produced in the region​.”

When he bought the farm in 2011, it had long been abandoned, but still included cocoa trees. Teal set about not only regenerating the land but also the buildings, and today it stands as a center of excellence for cocoa growing in Brazil.

As of today, the number of cocoa trees on the farm is 267, 286 covering an area of 817 (ha), the total area of the property is 1,123 (ha).

The forasteiro bean makes up 80% of the crop, with mix clones (VB1151, PS1319, PH16, PH15, BN34, CCN51, SJ02) making up the rest.

Average productivity kg / ha in 2017: 134kg/ha; rising to 163kg/ha this year and the farm employs approximately 200 people. It also grows banana trees.

With production once again booming in Bahia, Leal launched Dengo, a chocolate and coffee production company that he says, “is, above all, the result of a vision focused on regional development​.”

  • View the video to get the full story.

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