fbpx
preloder

ABOUT US

Socially,
Environmentally &
Economically Sustainable

Why Belize?

Belize has a reputation around the world as a source of high quality fine flavor cacao and cacao related products

Cacao only grows in the “cacao belt”, an area North and South of the equator where the tropical conditions provide the perfect balance.

Belize’s climate, humidity, altitude and rainfall combine perfectly with the rich soil to create the perfect growing conditions for excellent, fine-flavored, organic cacao.  The Maya and other tribes in Belize have grown, processed and lived off cacao for centuries, and still do. It’s in their DNA.

Supporting Local Cacao Farmers

Social Impact and Sustainability

Despite the excellent natural conditions and increasing demand, 90% of Belizean cacao farmers are subsistence farmers who were granted land by the government. Currently most of them cannot afford to fully plant the land they were given.  Most are less than 10% planted to cacao.

With low yields from such a small amount of trees most farmers struggle for the resources to increase their cacao production to a level where they can use what was given to them to support their families.

Stuck in a cycle of poverty many do not have the necessary capital, modern processing machinery or ability to meet the ever growing demand for their fine flavor cacao product.

Until now…

Peini Cacao Plantation & Belize Cacao Traders

Applying the “Art Of Cacao Science”

Peini Cacao Plantation and its team have deep rooted connections with the native Indian tribes of southern Belize who have been growing cacao for thousands of years.

Since 2016 we have been and continue to develop our 96 acres of planted farmland into highly producing Fine Flavor Organic Cacao farms. Each of our 45,000+ cacao trees in our farms are managed individually by our team of experts. Every little detail is handled with care, know-how and passion.

Peini has also developed a relationship with the Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute, an association of local Maya cacao farmers. Peini and the Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute continue to work together to build our nurseries with a current capacity annually of 50,000 cacao saplings.

 

Up to 35,000 of these saplings have been supplied over the last 2 years, for Free, to local subsistence farmers in our BCT organic bean-buying program, who ordinarily could not afford to buy new saplings for their farms.

Belize Cacao Traders

Bridging the gap for local cacao farmers

Belize Cacao Traders (BCT) is the largest and the premier Fine Flavor Cacao processor in Belize.

Southern Belize is full of smallholder, subsistence cacao farmers who are stuck in a cycle of poverty. They have had no reliable consistent channel to market or sell their beans. So most cannot afford to plant new cacao trees or fully plant the land they own, leaving them to survive on the production from a very small number of cacao trees. In the years prior to BCT opening its doors in 2016, these cacao farmers were reliant on local NGO’s who were generally underfunded and other buyers to buy their cacao beans.

Belize Cacao Traders was formed to help bridge the gap between these farmers and the current and quickly growing number of chocolate companies who are looking for Belize’s excellent, Fine Flavor Organic Cacao.

Together with the Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute we are helping to educate these local farmers in modern farming practices to improve their production and the quality of their cacao.

Beyond paying sustainable and fair prices for quality cacao, BCT is also providing a socially sustainable bonus of Free saplings to farmers that sell their beans to BCT.

BCT has also made micro-financing available through the Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute to provide affordable baby saplings from our nursery to all Toledo cacao growers, so they too can fully plant their farms.

As a result of the above, BCT can now provide a steady, reliable source for the farmers to sell their beans at a fair price, and to help them grow their farming operations, so that they can provide a better life for their families.

Peini and BCT are organically certified annually. This means all 3 of our farms, our centralized processing facility, our storage and our retail chocolate facility, Mahogany Chocolate.

We also currently organically certify under our BCT brand, 204 local Toledo cacao farmers, providing them a clear path to the market for their beans.

Our Team

Knowledgeable & passionate people at origin

Andres Lopez

Farm General Manager

28 years of experience in the coffee industry developing coffee farming processes, planning, development and implementing eco-friendly coffee farms. His experience also encompasses direct farm personnel management, increasing farm utilization and
profitability, inventory and warehouse controls, product quality control, milling and roasting processes. He joins us in Belize applying his knowledge to “Our Art Of Cacao Science”.

Armando Choco

Executive Chocolate Maker

Luis Armando Choco brings 15 years of experience in all aspects of the cacao and chocolate making process from “seed to chocolate”. With his knowledge of the post harvest process, Luis hand crafts each batch to bring about the unique flavour profiles of the beans.

Marion Ramirez

Belize Regional Manager

Marion is responsible for bookkeeping, inventory management, other financial/budget data management and accounting. Also assists in managing payroll, taxes, insurance and special projects. He also handles real estate projects for Peini Cacao Plantation and does support work for Mahogany Chocolate.

Feliciano Pop

Peini Farm Manager

My name is Feliciano Pop. I grew up in a cacao farming family and have been actively involved in the cacao industry of Belize for the past 10 years. I have been working with Belize Cacao Consortium since 2016 where I started as Peini’s Nursery Manager, then Buying Director for Belize Cacao Traders and now currently as Peini Farm Manager. I oversee the daily activities on our 3 farms and our nursery.

Samuel Tsui

Cacao Fermentation & Drying Manager

Samuel Tzui has been working in the cacao industry for 10 plus years. The last 2 years of those working with Belize Cacao Traders first as a Quality Control Director overseeing the fermentation, drying, cacao analysis, flavor evaluation and storage. Now Samuel manages the organic certification and farm inspection of our 204 farm network, social sustainability program, purchasing of wet beans, and the centralize processing facility. “I am so proud to be working with BCT, our network of farmers and sharing my experience and knowledge.”

Gabriel Pop

Director of Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute

As Founder and Executive Director, Gabriel Pop and his team of local experts have 12+ years of experience working in the Belize cacao industry with over 300 Smallholder farmers. The Na’Lu’Um Cacao Institute works closely with Belize Cacao Traders and Peini Cacao Plantations to support 204 local cacao farmers with training. NLCI in conjunction with BCT started the Social Sustainability Bonus Program that ensure farmers are growing more cacao to improve the lives of the farmers and communities at large.

Valentina Pedrotti

Biologist/Value Chain Analyst

Lead in the area of R&D directly on the farms and in the laboratory. Additionally, Mrs. Pedrotti, assists in the quality control area, developing all the protocols implemented in the laboratory as well as design and management of our proprietary traceability system.