Cocoa farm manager Tevita Nuivou says despite the long process in extracting cocoa from its natural form, Namau farmers are urged to adopt the old procedure in order to understand how exactly cocoa is manufactured.
Tevita says nurturing cocoa trees is a very important stage and a lot of patience is needed before the tree can actually bear the cocoa fruits they want. A cocoa tree takes at least three years to mature and bear fruits. Around this time it's very important to keep the area around the tree clean and to pile the dry leaves around the tree to allow for decomposition.
Tevita said chemical spraying and farming manure are not used because they believe strongly in nurturing organic cocoa pods. He said one of their objectives was to hit the big European markets overseas. These markets, he said, paid a lot for organic products.
Harvesting cocoa pods from the tree is done every six months and there are about 14 farmers responsible for taking care of their allocated areas. Cocoa beans are removed from the pods and bagged in sacks made of nylon, a method Namau farmers follow. Tevita said beans are then suspended from the ground to drain the juice that seeps out naturally from the seeds. It is then left for four nights before the grinded process.
A hand-full of cocoa seeds are collected and the inner core is inspected to check the colour. Tevita said after the drying process is completed the colour of the nucleus should change from its natural colour purple to a dark brown.
The colour of the seeds, he says, reflects how well the trees are nurtured. Seeds are manually grinded into a liquid and this is normally an eight-hour process. The cocoa liquid is then poured into plastic moulds and cooled overnight to harden. It is then wrapped and ready for sale.