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Return to Samoa | Celebrating World Chocolate Day

Today (Friday 7th July 2023) is World Chocolate Day!

SPS Biota are great lovers of chocolate and are excited to share our team's most recent visit to Savai'i in Samoa to celebrate World Chocolate Day. Hear from Keith Budd and Tanner Stott who, along with Liz Budd, visited the team at Savai'i Koko.

SPS Biosecurity returned to Samoa in June. The visit was twofold, one to engage with Samoan partners and assess the impact of our work in Samoa (change over time) including a gender assessment which was a follow up on the 2018 assessment.

Keith and Liz Budd focused on partner and grower interviews, and Tanner worked on the traceability programme for Cacao beans.

The goal of this is to provide an auditable trial of export beans (able to trace a sack of beans) back to the individual farmers who supplied them. This programme is split into two parts.

- Part 1 is gathering farm data. Location, information on production and inputs.

- Savaii Koko has developed an approved supplier programme to assist in verifying ethical and sustainable production practices. Tanner trained a local farmer and tourist operator Nu’u who has been with the programme since its start in 2015. The training consisted of how to use ArcGIS Survey123, a simple and intuitive form-centric data gathering solution. and how to complete the farm information form. Nu’u will continue to visit all the farms (400 supplies) and collecting the data.

- Part 2 Is to link the farm data with the central processing at Savaii Koko and merge the current excel spreadsheet with the Batch identification system producing a label for the export sacks.

Keith, Nu'u and Tanner at a plantation in Viasala.


While the team were on Savai'i 1News interviewed Natu (a worker at the fermentation centre) about the cacao production process.

See the piece here.


Farmers bring in dried cocoa to be weighed and quality checked.


Sorting and filtering the dry beans supplied by one of the farmers to remove any unwanted or faulty beans.


Beans in the drying shed. Beans are dried here for around 5 days out of the rain.


Saplings grown by Savai'i Koko. These are supplied to farmers to keep them able to remain producing cacao.


Keith looking longingly at the bean grader. The Savai'i Koko staff haven't used it much at all, despite it being an excellent way of grading the beans into different sizes.


Tupai Saleimoa Vaai, Lagi Natanielu (VSA), Keith and Liz discussing the programme.


- Tanner Stott and Keith Budd, SPS Biota