The Director of Export Development, SLIEPA, S.Shiaka Kawa and representatives from the Sierra Leone Cocoa Sector participated in the 6th edition of Chocoa Festival from 21-24 February 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The Chocoa Festival is an annual event for the Global Cocoa Sector that brings together stakeholders from the entire supply chain, from cocoa farmers to chocolate consumers. The objective of this event was to increase the market for ‘good cocoa and better chocolate’. Other members of the Sierra Leone delegation were:
• Haja Isatu Kabba-Ag Executive Secretary, Produce Monitoring Board(PMB)
• Alhaji Ahmid Kabba, Director of Operations, Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company (SLPMC)
• Mr & Mrs Abass Khazeem, Ali Baz Cocoa Exporting Company
• Mr George Muigai, Technical Adviser for Certification and Sustainability, Welthungerhilfe, Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone’s participation at the event was supported by The International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint technical cooperation agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and The Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) of the Netherlands, which are collaborating in the implementation of a Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTF) project in the Manor River Countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone focusing on Export Market options for the cocoa sector.
The purpose of the visit was to expose the Sierra Leone delegation to the European Cocoa and Chocolate market, which is the largest cocoa market in the world. The team participated in a number of events at Chocoa 2018:
• EUROPEAN MARKETS ACADEMY WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY
Discussions improved the delegations knowledge on the European market, post-harvest requirements of chocolate makers, food safety issues including new cadmium regulations, sustainability and certification and logistics issues in the cocoa sector. The delegation was also part of a wider group that visited a cocoa storage facility in the Port of Amsterdam operated by Olam, one of the largest cocoa buyers in the world and witnessed first hand, off loading and preparation of a consignment of cocoa from the Ivory Coast.
• CBI/ITC COCOA VALUE CHAIN WORKSHOP THURSDAY 22 FEBRUARY
The delegation made inputs for the finalization of the Mano River Cocoa Value Chain project with a team from the CBI and ITC.
• TRADE FAIR THU 22 / FRI 23 FEBRUARY
Over 75 booths of cocoa and service suppliers to the cocoa supply chain comprising buyers, traders, chocolate makers, chocolate companies, chefs, and chocolatiers and country stands were on display. On 23rd February, the Sierra Leone delegation displayed chocolates made in Sierra Leone by Ali Baz company, samples of dried cocoa beans and SLIEPA brochures.
• CONFERENCE: FRIDAY 23 FEBRUARY
The theme of the conference was “SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND COCOA PRODUCTION” Learn and discuss contemporary issues together with a variety of stakeholders in cutting edge debates on topics such as sustainability beyond the farm gate, gender, blockchain, living income and deforestation. Key speakers included John Ament (Mars Confectionery), Nicko Debenham (Barry Callebaut), Cedric van Cutsem (Cocoa Life, Mondelez), Filip Buggenhout (Cargill), Annemarie Yao (Fairtrade Africa), Hilaire Lamizana (Port of San Pedro, Côte d’Ivoire). The Sierra Leone team participated in the break-away sessions that focused on commoditisation of cocoa,the economic empowerment of women and calculating carbon footprint of cocoa products.