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Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania

Tanzania physical map

tasting notes: tart cherry, raspberries, cream

Kokoa Kamili Fermentery was founded by Brian LoBue and Simran Bindra, who have backgrounds in international development throughout eastern and southern Africa. Prior to Kokoa Kamili, a single buyer dominated the area – the local arm of one of the world’s largest soft commodity trading houses. A sole buyer meant it had the power to set the price for cocoa, and farmers had little alternatives. Historically, farmers in the Kilombero Valley received some of the lowest prices for cocoa in the country. In Kokoa Kamili’s first year alone Kilombero farmers received the highest prices in Tanzania for their cocoa.

Today, Kokoa Kamili works with nearly 3000 smallholder farmers, most of whom farm between 0.5-2 acres of cocoa. Kokoa Kamili pays a premium--well above the market rate--to farmers for their ‘wet’ cocoa, and conducts its own fermentation and drying. By taking over the fermentation and drying process, Kokoa Kamili can produce more consistently higher quality cocoa beans. This method gives farmers a reduced workload, along with greater compensation, and the farmers are paid immediately after the cooperative receives its wet beans.

Kokoa Kamili also distributes cocoa seedlings to farmers in the community. In the past three years, they have aided in the planting of over 140,000 trees.

Kokoa Kamili is situated in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, an area known for its abundance of bird and mammal wildlife. It is most famous for the eleven different primate species, bird life, and is one of three remaining sites that support Savannah Elephants in a mountainous environment. Current estimates say that 2,000 elephants reside in and around the Udzungwa area. 

“In Swahili the word 'Kamili' conveys precision. The literal translation is 'Exactly' or 'Absolutely', words that hold meaning to our farmers, showing our commitment to transparency with pricing and accuracy in purchasing. Kamili also carries the message of our promise to chocolate makers; by ensuring meticulousness in our operations we produce the highest quality cocoa to come out of Tanzania. 

By paying above market prices for cocoa, we are promoting the growth of the Tanzanian cocoa sector. Good for farmers, and good for chocolate!”

- Brian and Simran, Kokoa Kamili

 

buy Tanzania dark chocolate bar