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Cacao Growers Association Meet to get to the chocolate of the matter

Gifting chocolates may be one way people show affection and also another way to add more calories to your diet, but before they become sugary treats, the fruit that bears them must be grown. Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung reports on the twenty-second Cacao Growers Annual General Meeting.

Paul Mahung: “The 22nd annual General meeting of Toledo Cacao Growers Association was held at the weekend. The event agenda included report of Toledo Cacao Growers Association TCGA activities for 2018 and discussion on matters arising on minutes of last years AGM. Guest Speaker Product Development Officer of  Gone Green Super Food Ltd. in Arizona USA Jim Bottarini spoke to Love News.”

Jim Bottarini: “Great I am glad to join you today Paul and we are gathered here today at the TCJ annual meeting and today we discuss the different things that are going on in the organization. The organization is taking steps to develop the TCGA brand specifically the Maya House brand. The Maya House Brand is going to be encompassing things like chocolate Bars, value added things to the organization right now which is taking cacao products and hopefully we can go ahead and expand that property even more to include potential like restaurants or bring in other farmers because it is the farmers that really make this organization so special. The farmers were able to participate in the meeting today and they brought up some very good points as far as value added needs to be put on all these products they make whether its garlic or spices or cacao and that is one of the things we hope to do and introduce it to the US Market and the European Market and that really has a fond appreciation for products that come out of Belize and it’s our job and our goal here to make sure the market understands that Belize products come with a higher quality, their flavor profiles are world renowned, they have been given some special rewards and with that in mind I think the future for this market place is looking really well.”

Paul Mahung: “Chairman of Toledo Cacao Growers Association Justino Peck was happy about the results of the Annual General Meeting and spoke of a promising new year of TCGA operations.

Justino Choc: “I am very much happy to see the results of the annual general meeting that we have conducted today. There is a lot of famers that showed up and that is an education that the Toledo Farmers are still with the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and we want to ask our farmers to stay with us and that we are going to continue buying from farmers and we are adding value to what we will be purchasing from farmers very soon with our partner from the US and so I am telling farmers stay with us and TCJ will continue to be with us in  Toledo and part of Stan Creek and eventually the entire country of Belize can be a part of this whole Cacao Industry.”

Paul Mahung: “What would be some of the highlights Cocoa Farmers or TCJ members can look forward to in 2019?

Justino Choc: “In 2019 they should be able to see that the operation at the Maya House that was inaugurated almost four years ago and was never in operation. But under the leadership of this present board which was elected last year we are definitely in 2019, 2020 we should be operational, as a matter of fact we want to launch the opening of that Maya House very soon with our partner and with the people of Toledo. Let them look forward to the development that is taking place very soon and this I am assuring farmers is going to happen this time.

Paul Mahung: “Other speakers included Toledo District Agricultural Officer Eustachio Tush, TCGA Operation Manager Orlando Coc and board members Gabriela Requena and Salistino peck. Cocoa farmers from 27 communities from South Stann Creek and Toledo attended Saturday’s Toledo Coaca Growers Association annual general meeting held at JC Technical High School Auditorium. Paul Mahung Toledo Correspondent Love News.”