Cocoa History

Cocoa was once the foundation of Equatorial Guinea’s economy.  The rich volcanic soil and tropical climate make the island of Bioko an ideal environment for cocoa production.  Once upon a time, cocoa accounted for nearly half of the country’s exports.  The cocoa was routinely rated as some of the finest quality in the world.  The economy of Equatorial Guinea has morphed greatly since the discovery of oil.  There is only one cocoa plantation remaining on the island.  It’s drying season for cocoa, and the plantation invited us for a  tour!

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The plantation, Sampaka, has been in operation since 1906.

The original owner of the plantation land was named Sam Parker.  Over time, the land and community became known as Sam Paka, and eventually as Sampaka.  The plantation has been run by the same family for multiple generations.  Producing cocoa is sort of a side project.  The family business has shifted its focus to commercial horticulture.  The cocoa from Sampaka is top-grade grain, harvested and dried using many of the same methods as when the plantation was started over 100 years ago.

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The plantation home, which has been really well preserved and is still in use

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Part of our tour group walking along the palm tree-lined entrance to the plantation.  It almost felt like we were touring Boone Hall Plantation in South Carolina. Complete with heat, humidity, and mosquitoes, just missing the sweet tea.

We have a lot more pictures and fun facts from tour, but not enough bandwidth to make it possible to share tonight!

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