Cocoa from Honduras: reviving traditions, protecting forests.

How did this project come about?

Honduras is one of the world’s most traditional cocoa-growing regions, and in 1998, it suffered enormous destruction from a hurricane. Countless cocoa plantations were devastated. Many cocoa farming families switched to livestock breeding and cleared swathes of precious forest in the process. In collaboration with Coop, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Helvetas, HALBA launched a project for reviving the cocoa sector and protecting various breeds of fine flavour cocoa in Honduras in 2008.


What does the project do?

HALBA helps farmers organise themselves in cooperatives and re-establish their plantations by means of agroforestry. In order to simplify the trade relationship and provide better support to the farmers on location, HALBA founded its subsidiary Chocolats Halba Honduras in 2013. Among other activities, it organises educational programmes teaching how to cultivate cocoa sustainably and improve the quality of cocoa. Chocolats Halba Honduras also leads a reforestation project with which HALBA offsets its operational CO₂e emissions.

Since 2019, HALBA has been supporting its subsidiary Chocolats Halba Honduras in the transition from its previous agroforestry systems to the model of dynamic agroforestry (DAF). The fundamental difference between the current methods and DAF is the significantly higher diversity and density of annual food crops and perennial plants of the latter, which ensures that enough organic material is produced to cease the use of fertilisers and pesticides.

In 2021, HALBA brought the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the SDC on board. At present, 76 cocoa farmers are growing their product in DAF conditions on a 38-hectare area.