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Sir James returns from London with cocoa news

Sir James returns from London with cocoa news


Sir James Mitchell has just returned from London where he met with the directors of Armajaro to discuss the cocoa project.{{more}}

He is pleased to announce that Armajaro reported to him that their feasibility study into cocoa production in St Vincent and the Grenadines is positive. Sir James states that the technical and economic analysis is also totally positive.

According to a release from Sir James, “Discussions in London covered several issues including the sourcing of plan material, disease resistance, responses from research institutions, technical and financial support for the farmers, linkage with premium chocolate manufactures, and the institutional systems to be put in place in St Vincent. The directors reported on the analysis of leaf samples sent from St Vincent to the United States Department of Agriculture, and the relevance of information from the cocoa research institutes in Costa Rico, Ecuador and Trinidad. These technical and economic studies have concluded that fine-quality cocoa production is feasible in St Vincent, with a serious long term future.”

Sir James Mitchell further stated that Armajaro now confirm that they propose to make St Vincent and the Grenadines a premium producer of fine-quality cocoa, with all the essentials of traceability and sustainability. This implies direct linkage with local cocoa farmers and quality control to satisfy Rain Forest certification.

The next stage of the project involves seeking a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government. Directors of Armajaro will visit St Vincent in August 2011 with the aim of concluding such an agreement. This will pave the way for commencement of project implementation in September this year. Farmers should bear in mind that they are expected to intercrop the cocoa field initially, as cocoa yields begin in three years.

Sir James expressed the view that, with hard work and dedication to quality, cocoa income can attain the level of maximum income from the banana industry within twelve years, and sustain the quality of life in the countryside and beyond the farms with ancillary economic activity elsewhere. He also suggests that in due course an annual cocoa and chocolate festival could be organized as a new social feature in the country’s calendar, blending with our tourism.

He further reported that Armajaro’s world trade in 2010 exceeded 300,000 tons purchased at over US $3,000.00 per ton. The company also trades in coffee and sugar.

Sir James concluded “I sincerely hope that this project works, as I have been deeply worried about the plight of our farmers in the countryside, who were once the backbone of our economy. One day we may see that this was the light at the end of the tunnel”.