Friday, June 3, 2011


Submitted by Dr. Tom Neuhaus, President, Project Hope and Fairness, a 501 (c) 3
4104 Vachell Lane
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(; 805-441-6727)

I. Executive Summary
Most of the economic benefits inherent in the cocoa value chain are realized across the Atlantic and not in Africa, where 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown. This grant proposal is to fund the establishment of the first of a chain of cocoa study centers, designed to promote research by university undergraduate students and Peace Corps volunteers in a village setting and to foster the development of cottage industry and enhance economic connections between village and city. The vehicle for research and development is chocolate, traditionally a colonial product appreciated in the West, the beans for which are grown mainly in Africa. This is an excellent opportunity to link the Peace Corps with university students, providing students with the sort of experience that makes choosing a relationship with the Peace Corps a mature decision and also providing the Peace Corps with a list of potential candidates. The $25,000 from this grant will establish a working cocoa study center in a village without the bells and whistles associated with chocolate production. This project is sponsored by Project Hope and Fairness, a 501(c)3

II. Approach and Methodology

The approach to this project will focus on building a cocoa study center in the vicinity of Ebolowa, Cameroon. Procurement of land and construction of the building will be accomplished with the PC grant. Installation of a 4 KW solar system together with chocolate-making machinery and plumbing will be paid from separate funding.
• Procurement of Land: Establishment of a relationship with local authorities. We will solicit commitment by officials at the national government level in Cameroon and at the village level (e.g., the chief and sub-chief).
• Construction of Building: Designed and built by local contractors with the help of Peace Corps volunteers. The building will be made of mud-brick, stucco, and bamboo. See Appendix XI for photos. Mud-bricks are longer lasting than the dominant home construction method and stucco gives them life.
• Installation of Solar Array and Hardware: solar arrays and hardware will be shipped in a container along with chocolate making machinery. An engineer will be flown to the village to supervise the installation of the photovoltaic system and the equipment.
• Plumbing of building with hot water. This is used to clean machinery and to maintain a high level of cleanliness.
• Arrangement with U.S. academic programs for students to live in the village and conduct research at the cocoa study center. In 2012, students will be recruited via Ball State’s Family and Consumer Sciences and Cal Poly’s International Extended Field Trips program.
• Development of ongoing relationships with a university in Cameroon and involvement of Cameroonian students with Peace Corps volunteers and American/European college students.
• Involvement of Peace Corps volunteers assigned to run the cocoa study center.


Procuring of land depends on buy-in by Cameroonian officials, from local chiefs who actually own the land and rent or sell it to federal officials who are interested in issues of economic development. The building will be planned and constructed by local companies and workers. A picture of the proposed structure can be found in Appendix XI.
Installation of solar system and chocolate-making equipment will be accomplished by a Cal Poly Engineering student.
The first students to conduct research at the Cocoa Study Center attend Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Dr. Deanna Pucciarelli will travel with them and will supervise the academic outcomes.
Project Hope and Fairness will oversee the budgetary and construction aspects of the project.

III. Project Deliverables

Deliverables can be defined as follows:
1. Educational Deliverables: every summer, a series of university classes will study aspects of bringing cottage industry to a village. Aspects include:
a. Economic connections between the village and local population centers. A study of the history of attempts at diversification of the local economy.
b. Energy issues
c. Appropriate technologies
d. Nutrition and diet
2. Economic Deliverables:
a. Production of 100 lbs of chocolate per day (3 batches).
i. Wrapped in foil at 1/5 oz each, making 8,000 pieces per day.
ii. Sold wholesale at 2 cents each, generating $160 per day wholesale sales.
iii. To make 65 lbs of chocolate liquor needed, 100 lbs of dried beans are required, costing $50.
iv. Sugar sells at 25 cents per pound, meaning 35 lbs * .25 = $8.75.
v. Assuming employment of twelve people full-time in the facility and that each earns $3 per day, daily labor cost would be $36.
vi. Payment to village and to local chiefs: $5 per day.
b. Total daily profit: $160 - $50 -$8.75 - $36 = $85.25
c. Net sales: sold at 3 cents each, netting sales personnel $80 per day.

IV. Anticipated Impact

1. Rent: The local chiefs will earn rent for use of the land.
2. Salaries: the village will gain daily from increased salaries
3. Sales profit: assuming 8,000 pieces sold at 1 cent each profit, $80.

This project will fulfill the Three Goals of the Peace Corps Mission:
1. Host Country Improvement
This project will improve Cameroon by providing the equipment and experience to make chocolate a local product rather than one enjoyed by people oversees. By building local cottage industry and local economy, the world is linked through chocolate.
2. Volunteer Happiness
Peace Corps volunteers will be able to work with Cameroonian, European, and American university students along with villagers to find ways to build a new industry: local chocolate production.
3. Sharing Experience: students and Peace Corps volunteers returning from their experience in the cocoa study center can bring a feeling of hope, showing what can be accomplished when people share goals.


One of the greatest impediments in international development is cultural resistance. It’s easy to dig a well, it’s easy to deliver tools. It is not easy to change how people think.
In West Africa, the average village maintains commercial links with locally used foodstuffs such as rice, yams, and palm oil. With cocoa, the village remains disconnected with how cocoa is made into chocolate and then sold. A cocoa study center would help farmers think of their commodity as part of a value chain, this time, a local value chain, the end result of which they themselves consume and sell.


There is increasing recognition that the quality of cocoa depends on the training of the farmer. Quoting from the International Cocoa Organization:

In 1998, CAOBISCO expressed deep concerns over the deterioration in the physical quality of cocoa beans supplied to the industry. The Association had observed that farmers were not consistently harvesting, fermenting and drying their cocoa in line with recommended practices. CAOBISCO considered that this was due to farmers’ lack of knowledge of best agronomic practices and to inefficient supply chains in producing countries. (ICCO, 2007)
A number of non-profits associated with the cocoa industry have become involved in finding ways to make the West African cocoa farmer more efficient and more profitable. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, supported by the World Cocoa Foundation, have run Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. To quote from Esi Miriama, a 38-year-old mother and FFS participant living in the Eastern Region of Ghana:

Even though I am a cocoa farmer with a 5-acre farm, I do not know much about pests or diseases on cocoa and how to control them. I have to be serious in what I am learning because I have seen a positive change on my farm since I began applying the skills… (STCP, 2010)

Another very refreshing approach is that of TCHO, Inc., of San Francisco. It developed, in combination with small-scale chocolate production machinery and a solar-powered laptop, a village laboratory where villagers can make chocolate, taste it, analyze it across four dimensions, and enter their results into a spreadsheet. The result is an increased appreciation for the role of genetics, horticultural methods, fermentation, and drying.

Mirroring similar processes used for sampling premium coffee, the Flavor Lab system uses a small roaster and computer modeling to enable cooperatives to develop consistent bean roasting profiles, and document the specific environmental conditions and post harvest processing used in each batch of cocoa. (Land O’ Lakes, 2011).

This project will take training to a new level by including not just the first three steps of the value chain (growing, harvesting, processing) but taking the farmer all the way to the completed product. This kind of knowledge and experience will add an appreciation of the final product and the subtleties and exigencies associated with quality production.

This is a win-win situation: a win for the farmer, who transitions from mere grower to middleman, to processor, to packager, and to salesperson. It is a win for the chocolate industry because the farmer knows so much more and has a reason to produce products of superior quality.

V. Project Management Approach

Dr. Tom Neuhaus will be visiting Ebolowa, Cameroon this August. Assuming that the funding has been arranged, he will meet with construction personnel and also with Peace Corps representatives to ensure oversight over the preliminary stages of the project.

In October, Dr. Neuhaus will return to Cameroon along with an individual who will take charge of solar panels installation, installation of the chocolate-making machinery, and plumbing. Neuhaus will hire and train 12 chocolate production workers. Mr. Kila Balon together with one Peace Corps volunteer will supervise hiring of sales staff, which will focus on sales in Ebolowa and Yaounde. Chocolate will be distributed in ice chests to businesses most likely to experience successful sales—such as gas station snack stores.

Starting in summer, 2012, Neuhaus will supervise groups of university students coming to the center to live (with host families), to learn how to make chocolate, to participate in sales, and to work in villages on issues listed and described in Appendix XII.

The financial aspects of this project will be handled through Project Hope and Fairness (, which is a 501(c)3.

VI. Project Budget

$5,000 Travel expenses, August 2011 *
$20,000 Construction expenses in Ebolowa (September, 2011) *
$10,000 Neuhaus and assistant travel expenses **
$65,000 Chocolate equipment **
$40,000 4 K Solar array (battery storage and grid-tie) **
$10,000 Shipping expenses **
$5,000 Air conditioning**
$2,000 Freezer (used to make ice packs) **
$500 Plastic ice chests **
$157,500 TOTAL

* Peace Corps contribution
** Additional funding

VII. Appendix—References

ICCO, 2007. SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT FOR TOTAL QUALITY COCOA IN AFRICA, Executive Committee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Land O Lakes, May 15, 2011, Tasting Success in the Dominican Republic: Improving Cocoa Quality and Links to Fair Trade Chocolate
Nakano, Carisa, 2010. Arch 481 Thesis.
STCP, July/Sept, 2010. Newsletter, The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.