Springfield, Mo.-based Askinosie Chocolate’s new venture in Tanzania will not only treat chocolate lovers to a new taste sensation, but benefit future generations locally and in Tanzania, as well.
The new chocolate, which is sourced from the village of Tenende in Tanzania by the woman-led cocoa farmer group UWATE, will debut in November. It will also support the Tanzania Education Trust (TET), a portion of proceeds supporting both the local farmers --who will share in the profits --and TET’s mission to build more than 3000 secondary schools for Tanzania’s children.
Springfield philanthropist Doug Pitt was instrumental in influencing Askinosie Chocolate to select Tanzania as its newest source of cocoa beans. As the Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania, Pitt seeks to create opportunities for Tanzania and its people as well as bring awareness to TET’s mission.
“I’m excited to announce this partnership and thankful to Shawn Askinosie and Askinosie Chocolate’s Cocoa Honors program for choosing Tanzania as the site for its newest cocoa origin and its dedication, also, to drilling a well in Tenende to provide potable water for the village,” Pitt says. “By creating this opportunity engaging the cocoa resources of the UWATE cocoa farmer group directly with the farmers and doing a profit-share with them, Askinosie Chocolate continues to be a pioneer in new ways of doing global business.”
In selecting Tanzania as the site for sourcing its newest chocolate, Pitt came together with 13 juniors from Springfield’s Central High School, who are part of Askinosie Chocolate’s neighborhood outreach program called Cocoa Honors, a program that helps students understand the cocoa industry of Africa. The students deliberated on bean quality and other factors in selecting Tanzania, and departed on Aug. 8 for a trip to Tanzania with Askinosie Chocolate founder Shawn Askinosie to meet the UWATE farmers in Tenende, and drill a deep-water well for the village.
“This is a taste of much more to come in developing sustainable ventures throughout Tanzania and other countries,” Askinosie says. “We are excited that we are able to impact future generations and utilize the country’s rich resources combined with enterprising residents to create a winning scenario for all of us.”
In meeting with the farmer group UWATE and utilizing the cocoa resources of the Tenende village, the Askinosie Chocolate partnership will mark the first time a cocoa farmer group in Tanzania has directly contracted with a chocolate maker, instead of brokering the business exchange through a middleman.
Through direct trade with Askinosie Chocolate, a business practice the company engages in with all their cocoa sources, UWATE farmers in Tanzania will be paid more, per ton, than ever before.
While they are in Tanzania, the Cocoa Honors students will continue their global learning with the assistance of Maji-Tech Engineering Ltd. to perform a service project in the community. In addition to meeting the source of their newest cocoa bean farming first-hand, the youths also will be drilling a well to help provide potable water to about 2,000 Tenende citizens. In addition, they will distribute samples of chocolate to local school children, many of whom have never before tasted the product, despite the community’s production of cocoa beans.
For more information, visit www.askinosie.com.