Honduras is one of the countries in which cocoa was systematically grown and consumed by the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs. Criollo, the name of the original cocoa bean, is a noble cocoa variety.
After Hurricane Mitch caused significant damage to Honduras in 1998, destroying many smallholder cocoa plantations in the process, Chocolats Halba launched a project in 2008 to revive the country's cocoa tradition which dates back thousands of years. The company helped farmers get back on their feet and recultivate their cocoa plantations using a mix of crops (based on the agroforestry approach). In 2010, smallholder farmers grouped together to form the APROSACAO cooperative. Chocolats Halba established its first-ever subsidiary in Honduras in 2013. Together with its project partners Coop and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Chocolats Halba Honduras AG provides smallholders with comprehensive support:
- Training related to sustainable cocoa cultivation and quality
- Easier access to loans
- Infrastructure funding
- Long-term contracts guaranteeing fixed prices that are far higher than the global market rate
Crop diversification is a successful means of helping farmers earn additional income and increasing biodiversity. By planting hardwood trees among the cocoa plantations, Chocolats Halba is also able to offset the operational carbon footprint of its value chain.