São Tomé – Saved by Chocolate

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Solar drying of cocoa beans. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

São Tomé in West Africa was once the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa, but a decade ago the global cocoa price crash destroyed the industry in the country.

Since then, desperate farmers have been clearing the forests to find alternative ways to make a living, destroying the island's unique biodiversity.

But then a change came with the rising global demand for organic chocolate.

IFAD joined forces with French organic chocolate company, Kaoka, to revive the island’s cocoa industry. And it looks like chocolate might just save this island.

On 1 September, the International Conference on Small Island Developing States starts in Samoa, focusing the world's attention on the unique economic and environmental challenges of small islands like São Tomé.

Joanne Levitan has the story:

Duration: 4'37"

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