BOLIVIANS will soon be able to sample home-grown chocolate bars,
produced by a factory that operates in the Amazonian
The factory, which has just opened, is in San Ignacio de Moxos,
in Beni, the second poorest region in the country, in the Amazon
rainforest in eastern Bolivia. It is run by indigenous people
seeking to earn a living from the wild cocoa plants that grow in
the forest. It is supported by the Centre for Research and Training
of Peasant Farmers, a partner of Christian Aid.
"Three years ago, people who were living in the Amazon told us
they had these amazing cocoa crops and knew they could do something
with it," the programme manager at Christian Aid in Bolivia,
Cecelia Cordova, said last Wednesday. "They asked us to build this
factory, and we found the money last year. They now have over 600
kilos of cocoa to start turning into chocolate bars to sell in the
national market this year."
Discussions with the government of Bolivia are under way to
explore the possibility of supplying the chocolate for the
breakfast given to students in every state.
Ms Cordova said that the situation of indigenous people in
Bolivia had improved after decades in which they were forced to
work for people brought in by the government to develop the land.
Christian Aid had helped them to secure land titles confirming that
they owned the territories in which they lived: "We know that for
them to be able to protect this territory, they need to show that
they are making use of it."