Hello, this is Mamano Ezawa. Today, I would like to introduce the farm (Ecuador) and the union (Winak) that make cacao, which is the base of Mamano chocolate.
Agricultural cooperative located in the Amazon area of Ecuador, Central and South America. The main products are cacao and guayusa (drinks). The role of the union is to buy cacao from affiliated cacao farmers, carry out fermentation and drying processes, export, and provide production guidance to farmers. As of June 2020, all Mamano cacao was purchased from the Winak union.organicI am using Alibaba cacao (not JAS acquired).
Kotaro Ezawa, representative of Mamano Chocolate
Uri-san, a local representative of a Japanese import agency
Freddie, Former General cordinator
Marco-san, current Winjak leader (General cordinator)
Enrique-san, a member of the Winjak union
Mamano uses only Winak cacao. Thank you for always making wonderful flavored cacao. It has been eight years since Mamano was founded.
Japanese customers not only want to taste the flavor of cacao, but also want to know more about cacao cultivation and farmers. Today, I would like to ask you all about various things and tell our customers.
Winak is 100% open. Thanks to the relationship between Mamano and Winak, you have the advantage of knowing where cacao comes from and who makes it! Then ask me anything!
Q1. What is the impact on farmers and unions under the current COVID19?
There are differences between urban and rural areas, but this time I will talk about rural areas. COVID 19 spread in March, and I was afraid that there was no information or something I didn't understand. There was also fear of foreigners.
Focusing on purchasing and harvesting cacao, Winak members were able to enter the community because they had a government move permit when they entered the community. Then there was a reaction that I did not want to include people as much as possible.
However, side business income other than cacao also disappeared due to the influence of COVID 19, and selling cacao was an important source of income for farmers, so Winak will continue to enter the community and continue to purchase cacao as before. became. As a result, selling cocoa is the main income for farmers.
Currently, many COVID 19 infections have been confirmed in the community, but no one has died yet. Even if the infection is confirmed, I do not go to the hospital and treat it with natural remedies.
Q2. Please tell us about the annual state of cacao cultivation in Winak.
Each household grows crops (cacao, guayusa, cassava, fruit, etc.) according to the season throughout the year. No pesticides are used.
There is a deep connection between the family and the land (crops). I think that not only the land but also the harmony with the forest that creates biodiversity is one of the things that must not be forgotten. Cacao can be harvested for 6 months of the year.
The flow of the day is determined by the family leader early in the morning and depending on the weather. The leader is the strongest in the family. I'm a father, a mother, a grandmother.
When there is no cacao harvest in July, we prun the cacao trees. Every month, based on the teachings of our predecessors, we do some work such as sowing seeds. There are no members majoring in agriculture, and all of them continue to farm according to the teachings of their predecessors.
January-May is the main harvest season for cacao.
Q3. How is the result of cacao this year?
Every year, we are making efforts to increase production and prevent illness, so it is getting better every year. The post-harvest process was also further improved with the introduction of the Japanese project. Originally, two cacao dryers were planned to be introduced with the support of the project, but due to the influence of COVID 19, it has not arrived yet.
Q4. What made you decide to join the Winak union?
I knew that in order to improve the lives of farmers, I needed a leader who could further promote commercialization, and I knew that the quality of the products was high, so I became the leader of Winak in order to achieve further commercialization.
In the past, we provided products through an intermediary, but we decided to do it ourselves because the price and the amount offered were decided and it was not fair and the quality part was ignored.
Q5. Is the problem that Winak is facing now other than COVID19? How do you plan to solve it again?
The first is market access. If you have a lot of intermediaries, your income will decrease. It's best to be able to trade directly. However, it is difficult for Winak to beat a large union due to fierce competition. Therefore, my long-term relationship with Mamano is very grateful and important.
Q6: Why did you decide to become a cacao farmer?
The fact that cacao was originally located in this land, and in fact, coffee cultivation was the main activity before, but the price plummeted around 1990, and there is a history of changing to cacao cultivation with more stable income. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was almost no cultivation of cacao.
Q7: Is there a coffee farm in or around Winak?
Cacao is harvested three times as much as coffee, but coffee is also cultivated in Winak. It would be very helpful if you could buy a lot of Winak items! Coffee is cultivated in Lobasta and Arabica varieties.
Q8. I also want to make Amazon fruit puree! I wish I could combine chocolate and fruit!
It doesn't exist as a product yet, but it may be possible to make puree with the fruits that exist in Amazon! There are also sweet and delicious organic bananas!
In the future, we will regularly inform our customers about Winak and farmers!
That's a good idea! Let's do it!
We are also looking for questions about cacao farmers and farms.
Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like.