Cocoa is cultivated and consumed by the native inhabitants in today’s Honduras. Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs use cocoa as a valuable ingredient for drinks, food and even barter.
At the time of the Spanish invasion, the Ulúa Valley, located in the northwest present-day Honduras, is regarded as the origin of the best cocoa in Central America and Mexico.
Honduras’ cocoa cultivation is going through a deep crisis: tropical storm Mitch is destroying most of the plantations. In search of a new means to secure their livelihood, many cocoa producers switch to cattle breeding. In order to gain pastureland, valuable forest areas are cleared.
Swiss chocolate producer Chocolats Halba launches a project in collaboration with the Swiss Development Agency to rebuild the destroyed cocoa sector and preserve the local fine cocoa varieties. Smallholder farmers are supported in their organisation into cooperatives and the rebuilding of their plantations utilizing mixed cultivation (agroforestry) methods. After a few years, the cocoa sector recovered and Honduras fine cocoa regains a leading global position.
Chocolats Halba initiates a reforestation project together with the French company PUR Projet in the Olancho region. To protect the climate, smallholder farmers plant timber trees in and around their cocoa plantations.
Chocolats Halba founds its subsidiary Chocolats Halba Honduras in the city of San Pedro Sula. Chocolats Halba Honduras is made responsible for the purchasing and quality control of the high-quality beans. It provides training courses for sustainable cocoa cultivation and quality improvement. Within a very short time, Chocolats Halba Honduras has become a strong and trusted player in the Honduran cocoa sector.
Using the Trinitario fine cocoa, Chocolats Halba creates the first single origin Honduras chocolate in Switzerland. The Fairtrade and organic certified chocolate bars become a great commercial success and received several international awards.
Chocolats Halba Honduras exports expand to chocolate manufacturers around the globe, guaranteeing its customers fine cocoa from sustainable cultivation, complete traceability of the beans as well as a smooth supply chain. At the same time, the first training courses in organic cocoa cultivation utilising dynamic agroforestry methods are being held. Through this revolutionary approach, cocoa grows in a highly diverse ecosystem with a closed nutrient cycle.