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Cocoa passion on oil-rich island

Sounds like a new place for my ”retirement”.

By Tim Butcher
BBC, Sao Tome and Principe

The island of Principe, off the west coast of central Africa, has struck gold… black gold. But amid the frenzied drilling for their new-found oil riches, one Italian man is determined to restore the island’s reputation for producing the best cocoa in the world.

Employee walking through the plantation
It has taken years to re-establish the Terreiro Velho plantation
For the cocoa growers of Principe, monkeys, not dogs, are a man’s best friend.

They provide quality control for new plants and, in the eyes of a plantation owner like Claudio Corallo, they are more than welcome.

“Monkeys are good at choosing only the best cocoa pods, which they open and then strip off the beans inside,” he explained as we stomped through the tropical undergrowth.

“They stuff their mouths until their cheeks swell but all they want is the sweet mush on the outside of the bean.

“Once they have sucked them dry they spit them out all at once and they germinate on the ground. If I see a cluster of seedlings out in the jungle I know they must be top-quality plants straight from a monkey’s mouth.”

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Posted by SPN on 07/25 at 09:23 AM in Personal

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