Cocoa beans from Manimala exported to US; dream come true moment for Varghese
Manimala (Kottayam): It was dream come true moment for K J Varghese aka Monayi as dry cocoa beans were exported to US from Manimala on Monday. Cocoa is exported by the farmers’ society in Kerala for the first time.
For Varghese, this is also a sweet revenge. 40 years ago, Varghese had to abandon cocoa beans in a paddy field in Changanassery as there were no takers. Since then, he has been struggling to improve the demand and sales of cocoa.
Ending the wait, he received order from a US company for 1 ton of cocoa beans on Monday. A Cocoa Producers Cooperative Society was formed 7 years ago in Manimala to help the cocoa farmers. K J Varghese is the president of the 12-member director board.
The society registered as a charitable society and started activities by producing high-yielding cocoa saplings. Later, farming was expanded to Manimala, Vellavoor, Vazhoor, Kangazha and Chirakkadavu panchayats. When the plants started producing cocoa, the society purchased the beans and tried to find market.
They contacted a US company for exporting. Varghese’s son also intervened to communicate with the company which was formed to help rural areas. First, the farmers sent 1 kilogram of cocoa beans to check its quality. Among the samples collected from 10 countries, three were selected including the one from Manimala.
With this, the company placed an order for 1 ton of cocoa beans and also gave the amount in advance. As the society does not have export license, they sent the product with the help of a Mumbai-based export company on Monday.