In 2014, Kennyson Group, known for its implication in the rural development of Africa, decided to relaunch the cocoa business of São Tomé and Príncipe. Kennyson took over the management of century-old plantation of Diogo Vaz. The vision was to optimize the unique landscape by replanting authentic cocoa varieties and also to harmonize the social status of the local farmers and collaborators.
The social aspect is essential for us. We were inspired by our roots. In the Landes (France), finished products must support the local economy. On the opposite side, the chocolate industry is a totally unbalanced market. The beans are essentially produced in Africa, but the prices are established in Europe. 7 million people working to produce cocoa and many live in poverty. If we can prove that chocolate can provide these workers with decent living conditions, we will have won our bet.
Jean-Rémy Martin (Chairman of Kennyson Group)
The consumer is demanding more and more product quality, traceability and ethical responsibility. This year, Diogo Vaz sees its own chocolate factory function thanks to local teams, trained in chocolate and pastry fabrication. From the trees to the bars, everything is produced on site.
We are able to control the whole process from the trees to the final product. This lets us trace the origins of each cocoa bean, control of fermentation and drying process, the roasting and fabrication of chocolate
Eneko Hiriart (General manager of Diogo Vaz)
Diogo Vaz is manufacturing high-end quality chocolate. The beans from the plantation directly supplies the local chocolate factory, maintaining a consistent purchase price, which will considerably stabilize and improve the revenue and living conditions of our collaborators.
We want to bring out the essential fundamentals of a quality chocolate. No hazardous mixtures. We want an exemplary chocolate with rich flavors and quality aroma. We want to bring out the essence of our precious cocoa beans, like working on a great wine.
Persevering on our mission to preserve the land we cultivate as well as the people with whom we collaborate, we’ve recently obtained the Organic Certification for our cocoa beans on May 2017. In addition to cocoa, there are also many varieties of fruits growing on the plantation: breadfruit, jackfruit, pepper, vanilla, papaya, mango, banana, coconut, ylang ylang …