Reap Right

Cocoa Farm

Cocoa fruit is an egg-shaped red to brown pod that contains 30 to 40 seeds, each of which is surrounded by a bitter-sweet white pulp. When the seeds are dried and fermented in the sun they are brownish red, and known as cocoa beans—the principal ingredient of chocolate. The first recorded evidence of chocolate as a food product goes back to the Mayans and Aztecs who made a drink from the beans of the cacao tree.

Chocolate was known as a beverage until the nineteenth Century when “edible chocolate” was made. After roasting, the beans are crushed in a machine and ground into cocoa powder. Cocoa has a high food value as it contains as much as 20% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 40% fat. It also contains theobromine, an alkaloid closely related to caffeine and phenols and flavenoids, antioxidants that can inhibit cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Cocoa beans are a good source of potassium, magnesium and iron. The worldwide consumption of chocolate every year is estimated to be at least 7.2 million tons (2017).

The crushed shells or pod husks of cocoa beans can be used as a cost-effective, organic fertilizer to help in suppressing weeds, conserving moisture, and minimizing erosion.

Cocoa is essential to the livelihoods of 40–50 million people worldwide, including over 5 million smallholder cocoa farmers who grow this valuable crop including Reap Right Farms. West Africa produces 70% of the world’s cocoa market and 90% of these crops come from small farms that have less than 5 hectares of land (2017).

In 2011, the trading volume of cocoa futures on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) was 4.95 million tons, exceeding production by 750,000 tons. In November 2011, global sales of chocolate confectionery crossed US$100 billion for the first time, with consumer demand for chocolate anticipated to continue increasing and possibly outstripping supply.

Our Cocoa Growing Process


Usually, cacao trees start in a nursery bed where seeds from high yielding trees are planted in fiber baskets or plastic bags. The seedlings grow so fast that in a few months they are ready for transplanting.

The cocoa pods are unusual in that they grow directly from the trees trunk and major branches.


With care, most cacao trees begin to yield pods at peak production levels by the fifth year, which can continue for another 10‒20 years. Ripe pods may be found on cacao trees at any time, however, most countries have 2 periods of time per year of peak production.

At reap Right Farms we can expect 20–50 beans per pod, depending on the variety.

Fermentation and drying

Post-harvest processing has the biggest impact on cocoa quality and, consequently, on cocoa taste.

The farmer at Reap Right Farms removes the beans from the pods, packs them into boxes or heaps them into piles, then covers them with mats or banana leaves for three to seven days.

The layer of pulp that naturally surrounds the beans heats up and ferments the beans, which enhances the cocoa flavor. The beans are then dried in the sun for several days.

Selling and shipping

The dried beans are packed into sacks, packed in our warehouses and when ready we sell our product to a buying station.

The buyer transports the sacks to an exporting company where the sacks are inspected, put into burlap, sisal, or plastic bags, and transported to the exporter’s warehouse, where the beans are stored until they’re shipped to a manufacturer.