In June myself and a small group of friends ( and some soon to be friends) headed to Villa Hermosa, Tabasco, and Chiapas areas of Mexico to see the cacao farms in the region. Our group was headed up by Steve DeVries and Chloe Doutre-Roussel who were both familiar with the area.we travelled for a week visiting numerous plantations, haciendas , chocolate factories and ag- tourism venues centered around chocolate. Mexico in 2004 was devastated by the fungal disease Monilla. The borders were closed for trade as the deadly spores spread from tree to tree. Farms reported huge drops in their harvests- from 6000 kilos to 700. Fromm 8000 kilos to 132.. Today farmers are still coping with the losses. We met Mujeres del Cacao a group of women whose husbands are cacao farmers. These women had banded together to create value added products from cacao and help supplement their lost income. We sat with them to talk about value added products and what visitors might be interested to buy. It was a touching exchange, people coming together to cross boundaries and unite to save their vanishing way of life. Check them out on Facebook, they have their own page. This day was a lesson for Hawaii to be cautious about the reality that disease could come here… Unwanted , and destroy our fledgling cacao industry. We need to be careful not to bringing dried beans or live seeds or plant materials that could harbor diseases we don’t have here in our isolated paradise.
Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!
About the Author: Melanie Boudar