Colombian cocoa was recognized as the best cocoa in the world, winning gold in the Cacao of Excellence contest, held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The winning sample comes from the Agroguamal association, belonging to the Workakao Cooperative, located in Guamal, department of Meta, in the Eastern Plains region.
The contest is held every two years and rewards the quality of the product, with samples from all over the world. In this year’s edition, Colombian cocoa was recognized as the best among 300 samples submitted to the competition. This recognition marks the sixth time that Colombian cocoa has been awarded as the best in the world, since 2010, when a product from Arauca was the winner.
For Eduard Baquero, president of the National Federation of Cocoa Growers in Colombia (Fedecacao), with this award, “Colombian cocoa is positioned as one of the five best on the planet”. According to the union leader, this will increase exports, since having this seal of quality, international buyers will set their sights on the country’s product.
“This award that we are receiving now will once again turn the eyes of international buyers to Colombia and will surely have an impact on us in terms of increased exports. However, it should be noted that the country now exports more value-added products than cocoa beans and that is thanks to the prestige it is gaining,” added Fedecacao in a statement.
For her part, the Minister of Agriculture, Jhenifer Mojica, expressed the Colombian government’s satisfaction with this recognition, highlighting that this is not the first time that the Colombian product has been valued as the best in the world. “Once again, we won the international award for cocoa of excellence in Amsterdam! Congratulations to Workakao for sweetening the world with the best quality cocoa in Colombia from Guamal, Meta,” wrote the minister on her social networks.
Colombia, a cocoa producing power
Cocoa production in Colombia has been historically significant, with a tradition that dates back to pre-Columbian times. Located in the Amazon region, Colombian cocoa is distinguished by its unique quality and flavor, which makes it a highly demanded product internationally.
The main producing areas include regions such as Santander, Huila, Tolima, Norte de Santander, Antioquia and Meta. These areas offer ideal climatic and geographic conditions for cocoa cultivation, including fertile soils and a constant temperature. In addition, the diversity of microclimates allows the production of different varieties of cocoa, each with its own sensory characteristics.
In terms of quantities, Colombia has experienced a steady increase in cocoa production in recent years. Annual production is estimated at 60,000 metric tons, with an upward trend driven by government support programs and the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices. Undoubtedly, international awards such as the one obtained in Amsterdam will favor foreign demand.
The main advantage that Colombian exporters have is the quality of their product. The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) recognized Colombian cocoa in the Fine flavor and aroma category, a recognition granted only to those beans that come from very particular trees and that reach certain herbal or floral notes, among others, in their flavors.
According to the latest data from this organization, almost all Colombian cocoa achieves this, and Colombia is part of a select group of 23 countries that have managed to produce cocoa of this quality, which is equivalent to only 12% of the beans marketed worldwide.
Exports on the rise
In terms of exports, Colombia has established itself as one of the world’s leading cocoa suppliers. Major export destinations include European countries such as Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, as well as the United States. The quality of Colombian cocoa, together with a growing interest in organic and fair trade products, has contributed to the success of cocoa exports.
According to official figures from Fedecacao, 2022 was a positive year for sales of cocoa and its derivatives. Exports increased from US$ 125.3 million in 2021 to US$ 131.1 million in sales during 2022. In addition, according to DANE data, between January and April 2023, 8,884 metric tons have already been exported and sales have reached US$ 39.2 million.
Colombia also benefits from the high demand for cocoa from countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, recognized as the main consumers of the product wordwide.