Auro Chocolate believes that great cocoa beans begins with having the right partners. That’s why we are committed to building sustainable partnerships that empower local cocoa farming individuals and cooperatives to continuously improve both the quality and quantity of their cocoa beans and the thriving communities they come from. We don't simply impose standards and protocols. We have a dedicated team that works closely with farmers on the ground, assesses the particular issues they face, and helps them attain the necessary tools and skills they need to achieve success.

We purchase all of our beans exclusively from our partners. And we only partner with farmers who want to sell their beans exclusively to us. Since we offer significant price premiums above local market price, full transparency and traceability in our entire supply chain are essential to ensure that farmers are directly benefiting from these premiums and are therefore able to invest in their farms and communities. It’s important for us to see where the cacao is grown, to know the farmers who cultivate them and develop lasting relationships founded on mutual trust, accountability and transparency. Rather than simply working with them, we treat farmers and cooperatives as key partners and reward them as such. We are passionate about producing premium products in a sustainable way because we know it matters not only to us, but to you as well. 

 
 

To us, empowering farmers means equipping them with the right knowledge, skills and tools to make informed decisions in everything they do. Auro Chocolate understands that the farmers' ability to succeed is hindered by many factors such as the lack of infrastructure, their reliance on expensive agricultural inputs and poor management. To mitigate the complex issues they face, we have developed a holistic program to regularly train farmers and cooperative leaders on how to improve their agricultural practices, run their farms as a business, and play a positive role in their communities. Our aim is to promote sustainable production practices that increase biodiversity, decrease costs, and ultimately improve lives.

Through our regular training and hands-on implementation, we believe that our partners can maximize and even further expand their potential for value addition. Not simply limited to cocoa production, our training program touches on the following topics: Organic Cocoa Technology, Cocoa production, Pest and Disease Management, GAP, Harvest and Post-Harvest Procedures, Development of cocoa value-added products, Business skills and Production of organic inputs.

 
 

Globally, there is a significant difference between bulk/ordinary and fine flavour cocoa. In the bulk/ordinary market, cocoa is treated as a commodity that is quantifiable and uniform. It is largely determined by global market price, which small-scale farmers have very little power to influence. By contrast, price in the fine flavour market is determined more by variety and terroir, a term that beautifully encapsulates how people, place and history impact what is produced. As its name suggests, this market values high quality and distinct flavours. Auro Chocolate's goal is to harness the Philippines' untapped potential and place it on the world cocoa map as the source and producer of fine-flavour chocolate.

Our team has worked hard to formulate, refine and implement innovative solutions to address the many obstacles we face to achieve this goal.  For the past decade, both the public and the private sector have been mostly focused on increasing yield. Little emphasis has been placed on creating a robust framework to improve quality. Since there is limited price differentiation based on quality and variety, there is little incentive for farmers to strictly follow quality standards and plant better cocoa varieties. In the market, fermented beans are sold at the same price irrespective of their variety and unique flavour characteristics. In fact, many farmers have cut down thousands of Criollo Porcelana trees that they inherited from their forefathers because they did not understand their value. Whatever remaining criollo and trinitario beans are left are also indiscriminately mixed with Forastero ones, which is basically like mixing precious gold and silver with bronze and selling the whole lot as bronze. 

 
 
 

We introduced the price matrix as a way to incentive farmers to improve quality and cultivate better varieties. Our price matrix offers significant price premiums above local market price based on quality, which helps empower farmers to make choices that could substantially increase their income. Our pricing structure is pegged to local market price but also guarantees that farmers always receive significant premiums regardless of how the market performs.

 
 

We are proud to be one of the catalysts of the fine flavor movement in the Philippines. Although the road to achieving fine flavor status is long, we have to work together to get closer to that goal one meaningful step at a time.

 
 

Auro Chocolate is encouraging farmers to slowly embrace organic farming. Why organic? Because we believe that it is the most sustainable agricultural system. This approach aims to achieve ecological balance over time to improve soil fertility and minimise pest problems. It is kinder to the ecosystem, our partners’ budget and our clients’ health. Most of the local farmers we’ve met are organic by default, which means that they don’t apply any agro-chemical inputs not by choice but because they are out of their budget. To encourage them to take better care of their land, we've found that the key is to make the approach a simple one. Instead of forcing farmers to adhere to stringent requirements, pay for certification and buy expensive ready-made products, we teach them how to use what is locally available to produce their own inputs.

Organic farm inputs, when made and used properly, can substantially increase yields. Although most farmers are aware of this, usage of fertiliser and other inputs remains low and stagnant. In line with our company’s mission to improve yields to eventually raise farmer incomes, we have launched a new initiative to provide cost-effective organic farm inputs to all partners. FODC reserves 5% of the price premium (difference between base price and actual price) from the total gross sales of each delivery and provide organic inputs equivalent to the value reserved, which will then be given back to the wet bean suppliers. Over time, our goal is to gradually train cooperatives to produce quality organic inputs themselves. With this program, we hope to make cooperatives a vital resource center for the dissemination of knowledge and distribution of inputs for its members.