Koko Samoa back in business
Local company, Koko Samoa, has begun collecting dry cocoa beans from farmers around the country following the relaxing of state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders.
Seiuli Simei Kolio, Managing Director of Koko & Co Ltd which trades as Koko Samoa, told Samoa Observer in an email that the demand for cocoa has increased since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
He said an advertisement was put out last Thursday for people who wanted their cocoa beans collected, and by Monday this week had already amassed 5,000 kilogrammes of the crop for processing.
"Our team in Samoa went around Savai’i on Monday to collect cocoa. We’re currently collecting $11 a kilo. We’re hoping to collect monthly. The cocoa will then be roasted in Apia by the women and shipped to Melbourne, Australia,” he said.
“Melbourne is our distribution centre, where we’ll distribute our cocoa to America, here in Australia and to other countries.”
The company also used Facebook Live to advise people of the reopening of their dry cocoa beans collection program.
Seiuli said that he wanted to make use of the cocoa in Samoa and generate profit, which will go back to the families and farmers they collected the cocoa from.
Job opportunities for the youth is also an objective for Koko Samoa with Seiuli indicating that they are determined to invest in agriculture.
"Not only do I believe in our products, I believe in our people. I believe If we put structured concerted efforts with resources we hope to build with Koko Samoa into our youth, that there will be a lot more successes.”
The company’s annual goal is to exhaust farmers’ monthly supply and Seiuli does not anticipate experiencing any hurdles.
"The goal every year is to exhaust everyone’s cocoa supply monthly, so we want to collect everyone’s cocoa when they have cocoa is our goal from a supply point of view,” he said.
“From a demand point of view, should we not hit another hiccup on the road, God willing, that we are able to increase that outside demand to 8,000 consistently a month at the end of 2020 if we can supply it.
"We have a membership function where we want members to be a part of our program. To be a member you have to subscribe for AU$12 a month and there we deliver you a Koko Samoa with AU$10 every month, we will add more to that to make your membership and subscription worth it."
Currently, the firm has received orders from distributors in the USA, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.
Seiuli said the largest number of dry cocoa beans they've collected came from rural villages in Savai’i, who then emphasised the need for the beans to be processed properly for shipping, as it determines the quality of the beans.
"The rural villages in Savai’i are where we’re getting the best and most of our cocoa from. We collect only the sun dried cocoa beans so that it's less work for those who will roast the cocoa beans for the final product," he added.