The Soul Cocoa Plus project empowers farmers in the Solomon Islands to boost their income as they produce sustainable cocoa crops. Cocoa growing households learn new crop management techniques such as pruning, grafting, and integrated pest and disease management while also cooperating in the marketing of their produce. Training for farmer cooperatives involves women in all aspects of production and helps build connections between cocoa producers and chocolate makers so they can get a better price for their products and meet the needs of their families.
Growing up was a difficult time for Blais. He came from a poor family, and his mother died while he was still in school. But Blais says his life changed when he attended training run by ADRA’s Soul Cocoa project. He learnt techniques to improve the process of fermenting and drying cocoa beans, which helped improve the quality of his beans and attract a higher price for his produce.
Blais entered ADRA’s Chocolate Week competition and won third place. After this success, Blaze went back and taught his community the techniques he had learnt and now inspires others through his achievements.
“I don’t want anyone to be left behind – I want everyone to grow and improve together,” Blais says.