#World Chocolate Day

#World Chocolate Day

In the beginning was the cocoa pod – the beautiful, freshly picked, raw product – grown in tropical equatorial climates around the world, including Papua New Guinea (PNG).

90% of all the worlds Cocoa is produced by small-scale farmers. Some in communities in PNG reached by MAF planes. 

From the cocoa pod, the beans are harvested, dried and then flown out for onward processing and eventual export. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that – but you get the gist!

You already know where it ends up! It's available in every corner shop, supermarket and restaurant up and down the country.  

Last year Britons consumed more chocolate per person than any other country, (11.5 kg each!) with Fairtrade chocolate accounting for around 12% of annual sales.

Flying for Chocolate

Bags of organic beans are loaded into MAF’s Twin Otter aircraft in the Highland of Karamui in Chimbu province, PNG. Each enormous sack is the weight of an adult man - 70-80kgs. 

MAF pilot Glenys Watson has flown two flights in the last couple of months, including one full load in MAF’s largest aircraft, the De Havilland Twin Otter.  

Cocoa is a precious cargo for the isolated communities with few resources, besides PNG’s tropical climate and fertile soil.

It’s not the first time we have carried the commodity. Five years previously, in June 2013, MAF arrived to collect the very first crop produced in the area.

Half a ton of the finest highland cocoa beans were waiting at the airstrip when pilot Brad Venter landed.

Quality chocolate

Brad unloaded the cargo on the inbound flight. There was tangible excitement as the parts for a new drying machine were unloaded from the plane.

The first harvest was dried using traditional methods, but the farmers were hopeful of producing much more with the help of this new drying equipment.

Cocoa has been grown in coastal areas and the nation’s many islands for decades, but production was being trialled in the highlands as an alternative to coffee. Initial results were promising – both the quality and quantity were good.

90% of the worlds Cocoa is produced by small-scale farmers

Chocolate communities

The success of the venture is in evidence as the huge hessian bags are loaded onto the plane.

It takes somewhere between 400-500 cocoa beans to make each pound of chocolate, and an individual tree can produce up to 7lbs a year.

Increasing popularity of chocolate in Asia and a growing global market means there is hope for the highland growers that carefully tend and cultivate their trees.

But the cocoa market is volatile and the farmers need all the help they can get. Their products must be flown out of remote communities where it is grown to be processed and turned into the deliciously decadent treat we all love.

MAF will continue 'flying for chocolate' and the communities that depend on it for an income - and as long as there are barriers to overcome.  

To celebrate World Chocolate Day we'd love to share some of our favourite MAF recipes!  

Download your free chocolate recipes 

Free Download - World Chocolate Day Recipes