Vanilla, cocoa and species protection: News from the ForestFinance cocoa forests in Panama
Cocoa plantations are often monocultures with few species and working conditions that hardly meet international standards. Not so the Finca Rio Uyama of ForestFinance in Panama: Here, UTZ-certified fine flavoured cocoa grows in a real forest, together with various trees and plants.
From the cultivation to the cocoa harvest, which is carried out in meticulous manual work, the cocoa trees are sustainably managed and cared for. This has now paid off: Panama was able to participate in the International Cocoa Award (ICA) for the first time in 2019 - with cocoa from ForestFinance forests. The ICA committee examined and evaluated various cocoa beans of high quality. But it is not only the people who are happy about cocoa: The agro-mixed forest is also well accepted by the animals. The employees regularly spot sloths as shown in the photo.
In order to further increase the biodiversity, ForestFinance has been experimenting with vanilla, which grows between the cocoa trees, for about two years. The cultivated varieties are native species. Many orchid species are already threatened with extinction today and the genetic diversity of the plants is declining more and more due to the high demand for certain varieties, which will continue to endanger the species as such in the future. The vanilla orchids on Finca Rio Uyama have been thriving splendidly so far and give hope for a good harvest. The next step is now the organic certification of the finca by the certifier "Biolatine". ForestFinance has been preparing the conversion to organic farming thoroughly for three years now. It should be ready in mid-April: Then the cocoa will probably be allowed to carry the organic seal.