Rosa lives in Mendes da Silva, south of São Tomé town, deep in the tropical rainforest. She was born in 1979 and is married with three children aged 10 to 18, who are all in school. She farms 6 acres of land.
She joined CECAQ-11, the Fairtrade and organic certified co-operative, in 2009. Previously, she had only been able to sell her cocoa wet for a low price. With CECAQ-11 she can get an advance price for her wet cocoa and an additional payment when the cocoa is dry. The co-op also provides organic farming training, including how to graft new cocoa trees, organic approved inputs, cocoa seedlings, and loans.
With the extra income she can send her children to school and access healthcare, while she and her fellow farmers have invested the additional Fairtrade premium in developments in their village, such as good drying tables, and fencing around them to keep them secure.
“My family and my community make me happy,” she says. “Growing cocoa and earning more money would make me happy, too!”
The biggest challenge she says faces is if any of the family members get ill. They do have a health centre close by, but they need to have enough money to pay.
Rosa’s message to chocolate lovers discovering the Divine São Tomé range for the first time: “The cocoa is natural, very delicious, and high quality. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out!!”