How it all Started
Reviving Fiji's cocoa industry
In 2012, Arif met several farmers on Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, who were “passionate about cocoa farming” but struggled to find markets for their products.
Arif was looking to get involved in Fiji's agriculture sector and work with small holder farmers in rural areas. He brought 1 tonne of cocoa from various farmers and embarked on a journey and it didnt look back.
There were many learning points in improving processing but certainly there was a distinctive flavor profile imparted by Fiji’s terroir , that was unique and impressive after tasting a chocolate bar made of Fiji beans. These events inspired him to move back to his home country and make it his mission to help revive Fiji’s cacao industry.
Since its inception, craft chocolate made from CacaoFiji beans are now found in several countries, such USA, Canada, France, New Zealand and Australia. Several of these chocolate makers have won awards from Cacaofiji beans. In 2018, Cacaofiji 75% by Ocho Chocolate won a Gold Medal at the NZ Chocolate Awards.
History of Fiji's Cocoa Industry
Fiji's Cocoa revival
Cocoa was introduced in Fiji in 1880 by the British with several varieties Trinitario from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Trinidad . The modern day development of the industry was initiated in 1960's when the government made efforts to establish cacao as a smallholder crop to be interplanted with coconut.
In 2014, Cacaofiji was formed led by Arif to work on a sustainable and a market driven revival of Fiji's coao industry via small holder farmers.