Angostura has announced a programme designed to ensure a sustainable future for small scale organic cocoa farmers in TT. The programme will empower small local cocoa farmers while protecting and promoting Trinidad’s prized Trinitario variety, the majority state-owned enterprise said in a release.
Angostura launched cocoa bitters in 2020 as a celebration of the company’s provenance and as part of its commitment to promote local industries. Angostura cocoa bitters uses nibs of TT’s local agricultural treasure – Trinitario cocoa, which is world renowned for its bold, fruity characteristics and depth of flavour and aroma. When combined with Angostura’s blending expertise it creates an award-winning cocoa bitters that is perfect in cocktails such as the Espresso Martini or to enhance the flavour of culinary dishes like savoury sauces and desserts.
The Angostura cocoa bitters sustainable future initiative will focus on farmer education and empowerment to support the survival of the trinitario cocoa variety as well as promote the continued quality of Trinidad’s trinitario cocoa on the world stage captured through digital storytelling and documentary filmmaking.
The first part of the programme sees Angostura partner with Übergreen Organics Ltd to establish three organic cocoa nurseries and clonal gardens. The cocoa plant nurseries will provide healthy, productive, disease and drought resilient varieties of Trinidad’s heirloom trinitario cocoa plants. Übergreen Organics will also deliver training to farms on topics including nursery management, organic certification, and the use of new technologies.
The three cocoa nurseries will produce useful data and specific insights about soil conditions, micro-climates, and other external factors on tree productivity. The nurseries will make over 1,000 plants available each month and increase the income potential of farmers in rural communities.
The second part of the sustainable future project is a documentary – The Story Behind Trinitario Cocoa, which explores the challenges and opportunities of the cocoa and chocolate industry in TT. It examines key risks to the industry due to climate change and the younger generations seeking opportunities beyond farming.
Ian Forbes, Angostura acting CEO, said: “The quality of our local cocoa in Trinidad is a source of great pride and is what inspired the creation of Angostura cocoa bitters. We’ve been working closely with farmers from the very beginning and understanding more about the structural issues in the cocoa industry and wanted to help with some solutions to support sustainable farming and growth in the agricultural sector. Cocoa, like Angostura, has been such an important part of Trinidad’s story for almost two hundred years; it’s part of our collective cultural heritage and it’s imperative we protect it.”
Rene Sperber from Übergreen Organics, added: "The extremely low yields of cocoa plants in TT, which is many times lower than the global average, is making farming unsustainable on the islands. The new nursery plantings will provide local farmers with disease-resistant plants that can yield higher quantities of healthy, quality cocoa fruit. This will be a game changer for many farmers, and both increase their income and reduce their risk. The Trinitario plant is so well suited to the soil and climate of TT and there is such a great opportunity for its prized flavours in artisan chocolate production globally. It’s great to see Angostura cocoa bitters supporting this initiative and listening to the industry about what it needs to survive and thrive.”
Denise Speck, the director of the film, said: “There is huge global consumer demand for unique, single origin, fully traceable, high-quality produce. TT has this with Trinitario, but until now small-scale producers haven’t been able to effectively tell their stories. Storytelling is essential within responsible supply chains and adds value at every stage of the chain.”
Angostura cocoa bitters is available worldwide. For more information, please visit www.angosturabitters.com.