These Chocolate Bars May be the Golden Ticket to Economic Stability for Farmers in the DR Congo


In the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, chocolate is restoring a bit of sweetness to an otherwise sour situation. A partnership between Theo and the Eastern Congo Initiative is providing 2,000 people with the skills and support necessary to become cocoa farmers.

The new organic, fair trade certified chocolate bars dubbed: Pili Pili Chili, an intensely warming blend of cocoa, vanilla, and spicy peppers; and Vanilla Nib, a scrumptious mix of cocoa, creamy vanilla, and crunchy cocoa nibs, are Theo’s first-ever bars produced solely from Congolese cocoa beans.

While the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is rich in natural and human resources, it has the lowest per-capita gross domestic product in the world. Violence, poverty, and disease in the DRC have claimed the lives of over 5 million men, women, and children. And despite democratic elections and multiple peace agreements, the eastern region is still impacted by conflict, which has significantly diminished the availability of reliable, income-generating employment, as well as education and health care.Theo and ECI recognized an opportunity to help the region emerge from crisis by joining forces with local farmers to cultivate cacao. This fast-growing, high-yield crop requires minimal re-planting, prevents deforestation, commands solid global prices, and is a major source of income for women (Theo).This partnership has also created extraordinary opportunities for the farmers as the cocoa crops are of no use to the militia since the beans need to be processed to create value, ensuring a sense of economic stability for the farmers, their families and the local community.

To learn more about the initiative check out the infographic below:

ECI/ Theo Initiative Infographic

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Photo by EverJean
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The Culture-ist