Ngoleagorbu Cocoa Farmers’ Union’
- Location: Gola Rainforest, East Sierra Leone
- Founded: First Farmers Association formed in 2016, Ngoleagorbu is the umbrella organisation for the farmers associations and was founded in 2018.
- Members: Ngoleagorbu has 1,766 farmers (401 women) in three farmers associations:Gaura Cocoa Farmers Association (GACFA) 466 members (96 women), Malema Cocoa Farmers Association (MACFA) 850 members (233 women), Tunkia/Koya Cocoa Farmers Association (TUNKOCFA) 470 members (72 women)
- First traded with Twin: 2016
- Post-harvest process: Farm-fermented cocoa dried on raised, covered tables. After participation in fields schools on post-harvest production, farmers in some villages have come together voluntarily to ferment and dry their cocoa communally.
- Varieties: Forastero (Amelonado and Upper Amazon)
- Certifications: Working towards Fairtrade and Organic certification by the end of 2019. Internal control system is aligned with certification standards and no artificial fertilisers or pesticides are used in production.
- Harvest: September to February
- Production capacity: Currently 25MT with projected growth to 62.5MT by the end of the 2018-19 season.
- Flavour profile: spice, cinnamon, fudge
The Gola Rainforest cocoa farmers formed an association in 2016 and exported their first container of premium cocoa for the specialty market in 2017. Ngoleagorbu itself was established as an umbrella organisation in 2018. The name means ‘we who live in the forest’ in local language Mende. Prior to the establishment of the producer organisation, farmers were selling to local traders at low prices and unable to harness the potential quality and associated higher prices for their cocoa.
Member farmers live on the edge of the protected Gola rainforest. The civil war in Sierra Leone and Ebola affected a lot of the country, including the rural communities in the rainforest. Joining forces with each other enables individual farming families to access training on sustainable farming, to standardise fermenting processes and creates the ability to sell collectively.
The producer organisation buys the cocoa from the farmers in an open and transparent way, which is a big change. Juma Koroma, a member farmer, notes "Before I joined, I sold my cocoa to traders and was never allowed to see the scales or get a receipt. Now I have been taught how to use scales, and I know how much I will get for my cocoa, and I trust who I am selling to".