Vanuatu farmer shortlisted for International Cocoa Awards already a winner
A Vanuatu cocoa farmer says being shortlisted for the Salon du Chocolat International Cocoa Awards in Paris is proof anything is possible.
Father-of-four Moli, from the remote island of Malo, was one of 50 finalists from around the globe. Until a year ago, he’d never left the country and had limited success growing cocoa. However, aid and development agency World Vision has been working with his community to improve their farming techniques and link them with buyers willing to pay a fair price for their products.
While Moli didn’t win the grand prize, he says he’s already a winner and vowing to be back next year.
I am very happy and proud of how far I've come. I am proud to represent myself, my country, and my fellow farmers. This is the introduction to a whole new standard for me and I am so proud of myself. I will return.
- Moli, farmer from Vanuatu
Since taking part in the World Vision project, Moli’s household income has increased by a whopping 400 per cent, enabling him and his wife Monique to send their children to school and provide them with a balanced diet.
Sandrine Wallez from Aelan Chocolate Makers, based in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila, produces chocolate made with Moli’s cocoa beans. She traveled to Paris with Moli. “I'm obviously sad Moli didn't win, but this is a huge achievement to be recognised at this level. It is so wonderful for Vanuatu to be a finalist on its first attempt and gives us great hope for the future.”
World Vision’s Country Director in Vanuatu, Mike Wolfe, says Moli is an inspiration to the small Pacific nation. “Moli has shown what hard work and determination can achieve. He applied what he learnt and improved the quality of his cocoa. Consequently, Moli was able to increase his family’s income and better provide for his children. Moli is now sharing what he has learnt with others. We are so proud of everything he has achieved.”
In addition to growing cocoa beans to make into chocolate and sell, Moli grows seedlings to expand his crop and sell to other farmers.
Cocoa has become a family affair. Moli and his wife Monique check out their crops.
Monique has discovered a knack for pruning and grafting.
Moli has built his own ‘solar house’ to dry out the cacao. He then weeds out any flawed beans before bagging the cacao and sending it by boat to buyers in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila.
Moli is sharing his knowledge with other farmers. His success has been a source of inspiration for his community.
Monique says the project has transformed their family’s lives. Their household income has increased by 400%, meaning they can now afford to send their children to school, provide them with a balanced diet and pay for health services if they fall sick.
Moli’s beans are turned into chocolate at Aelan Chocolate Maker’s premises in Port Vila.
The finished product, ready for sale.