Uganda | Smallholder farmers

Impact in pictures: higher & more stable incomes for farmers in Uganda

15 December 2021 10:00

Better chocolate for a better life: that’s the mission of Latitude Craft Chocolate in the heart of Uganda. And they’re accomplishing that mission. With help from a loan by Rabo Foundation, the chocolatiers are structurally improving the lives of local cocoa farmers. But what about the chocolate? You wouldn’t believe how good it tastes!

Smallholder cocoa farmers sort cocoa beans

Latitude buys its beans in Bundibugyo, a region in western Uganda. The border region near Congo is not only known for its high cocoa yields, but unfortunately also for its low household incomes. Latitude believes there must be a better way. The young company offers farmers prices that are 50% higher than the major cocoa producing countries of Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire.

Smallholder cacao farmer harvesting
Smallholder farmers open pods remove their seeds
Smallholder farmer opens pods to remove the seeds
Smallholder farmers harvesting cocoa

The farmers harvest their beans from September to February on plantations of one to three hectares. But their income has to pay for food and their children’s tuition for the entire year. Latitude ensures that farmers have enough financial resources year-round. For example, farmers can apply for microcredit during the off season and pay it back during the peak season.

Smallholder farmers bring cocoa to collecting point
Smallholder cocoa farmers bring their beans to the collecting point
Drying cocoa beans
Drying cocoa beans

But Latitude doesn’t just help farmers earn more; the company also ensures that they’re insured as well. They arrange for training in financial administration. And they introduce farmers to organic farming methods and innovative growing technologies. All to give farmers an opportunity to structurally improve their work and income and provide their families with a stable future.

Grinding cocoa nibs into liquid mass
Processing cocoa beans
Process of mixing cocoa mass
Packing chocolate bars

Latitude processes the beans into the highest quality cocoa, and buyers are noticing. Their product earned a place among the top 50 at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. And the bars Latitude crafts from the cocoa won a bronze medal at the Academy of Chocolate Awards. Another benefit? Higher quality earns a higher price. And the farmers pluck the fruits of that effort.

Rabo Foundation and Latitude

Why have we joined forces with Latitude? Because we share the company’s vision. Latitude works to make the cocoa sector stronger and fairer. The company processes the cocoa domestically, which is good for the local economy while contributing to a more sustainable production chain. Latitude also offers farmers a good price, knowledge of better agricultural techniques – and with it a brighter future.

Delicious chocolate for a fair income. The chocolate bars by Latitude not only look cheerful; they also offer Ugandan cocoa farmers a better income – and a better life! Curious how they taste?