Choba Choba: From Peruvian Cocoa Farmer to Shareholder of a Swiss Chocolate Brand

Wie Choba Choba die Schokoladeindustrie revolutioniert
© Symbolbild: CRNA

Choba Choba wants to revolutionize the chocolate industry. The suppliers of the Swiss company are no longer “merely” cocoa farmers, but entrepreneurs with decision-making power and co-owners of the chocolate brand. In the current model of the cocoa sector, cocoa prices on international markets are often too low to be attractive for cocoa farmers. The majority of small farmers are struggling to survive and the younger generation sees no future in cocoa farming. Compensation for the know-how and for the enormous effort of the approximately six million cocoa farmers worldwide is inadequate.

Cocoa farmers from Pucallpillo and Santa Rosa (Peru) co-founded the Choba Choba company. This makes them co-owners of the first Swiss chocolate brand where cocoa farmers are directly involved in business decisions. So they no longer “just” sell their cocoa, but their own chocolate. And this directly to the consumer – without any intermediaries.

What are the social, environmental and economic impacts?

Economic: The cocoa farmers determine themselves and in a democratic vote the price at which they sell their cocoa to their company. Currently, this price is around two to three times the market price. In addition, every chocolate purchased has a direct, positive effect on the income of the cocoa farmers, as 5% of sales go straight into the special “Revolution Fund”, which is intended for the communities of Pucallpillo and Santa Rosa and is only available to them. They decide whether to pay out this money to the families and use it to finance projects or to increase their share in the company.

Business Sustainability Today - Choba Choba

Ecological: Cocoa production in Peru and purchased raw materials such as cane sugar and milk meet the highest ecological standards. This also takes biodiversity into account. The use of original and rare cocoa varieties supports, among other things, the preservation of varietal diversity.

Social: Currently, 36 cocoa farmers from the communities of Pucallpillo and Santa Rosa are involved in the project and benefit from voting rights on price, strategy and distribution options. The company trains the cocoa farmers so that they gain the necessary skills to make their own business decisions.

What is Choba Choba’s vision?

By 2020, 33% of the company is to be owned by cocoa farmers. In the long term, they are to acquire the majority of the shares. They are therefore to become the main owners of the company founded in Switzerland in order to continue running it.

How can the solution set be multiplied and scaled?

The business model currently only reaches 36 of the approximately 6 million cocoa farmers – so the potential for scaling up would be huge. However, Choba Choba attaches great importance to close contact and exchange with the cocoa farmers involved. In order to maintain this, they do not want to grow significantly. However, the chosen solution approach can be multiplied and scaled by being copied by other companies. Applications in areas other than the chocolate industry, such as the textile industry, would also be conceivable.