Cacao is one of the main income-generating crops, supporting many small producers in the humid regions of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria. However, cacao beans account for only 10 % of the total weight of the fruit, and the remainder is rarely used commercially (Lambaga Koko Malaysia, 2018). The white pulp which surrounds the beans can be extracted to obtain a sweet juice with a taste very like that of apples or lychees.
However, the juice ferments very quickly in a humid tropical climate because of its high sugar content. Only a small quantity is collected and consumed during the harvest. The rest is wasted.
It would be desirable to generate value from the cacao juice as its sale could improve the quality of life of the cacao producers by providing them with an additional source of income independent of the fluctuating price of the beans on the world market.
In order to create incomes in a rural area in Cameroon, the Antenna Foundation is setting up and testing logistics for the harvesting, pasteurisation and distribution of cacao juice.
The juice is collected in the field during the bean harvest. Independent contractors use motorbikes to travel to areas which are difficult to reach. They extract the juice and take it away immediately for pasteurisation. The cacao producers, who are very busy during harvest time, do not need to do anything.
The logistics are critical, as pasteurisation needs to take place within 12 hours of extraction, to avoid fermentation. The juice is taken to a processing unit established at the Agricultural Institute of Obala one of our partners in Cameroon. A local company in Cameroon then undertakes the distribution African Solar Generation.
This project aims to create value at a very local level, supported by existing resources, and creating employment and incomes from short supply chains.