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Pearl Cocoa, Uganda

  • Definition
    Devising project idea, defining the aim and main components
  • Design
    Specifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
  • Open to Financing
    Searching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
  • Implementation
    Execution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
  • Maintenance
    Operational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
  • Scaling Up
    Scaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.

Pearl Cocoa is a farmer-oriented startup working on an ambitious project: Uganda’s first cocoa processing factory. The company has created a flexible business plan enabling a small as well as a more extensive start depending on the size of the investment. Its unique approach is focused on aiding 3,000 farmers supplying cocoa directly to the facilities, whilst profiting from locally added value and certification premiums. reNature will transform existing cocoa monoculture plantations into productive agroforestry systems to additionally harness numerous environmental and socioeconomic benefits.   

Source: Pearl Cocoa

Number of expected beneficiaries

>3,000 farmers + families and communities

Development Challenge

Raw cocoa production in the Bundibugyo region has reached levels at which local processing becomes viable. Simultaneously, people in the region are still facing low value of their raw cocoa, lack of organization and unstable export prices. Farmers traditionally favored growing cocoa over local food crops – perceived as mutually exclusive – as it was thought to be more profitable. However, this leads to increased malnutrition, lower food security, and environmental degradation. The latter is currently enforced by high numbers of refugees in the area demanding fuelwood, thus, driving deforestation.


Pearl Cocoa will purchase cocoa processing machinery, lease factory buildings and buy raw cocoa directly from local farmers. A network of international buyers has already been established. Further, reNature’s will kick-off and upscale the agroforestry cocoa transition by implementing a Model Farm and a Model School. 


Increasing the farming communities’ economic prosperity and resilience, food security and nutrition as well as the farms’ environmental performance.




Ugandan cocoa processing factory

20,000 ha

available for agroforestry

Source: Pearl Cocoa

Inspirational Impact

reNature’s Model Farm will exemplify the benefits of agroforestry inspiring farmers to initiate the transition on their farms. A Ugandan cocoa processing unit is expected to stimulate local identity, encourage farmers to join, and promote agroforestry practices. Pearl Cocoa has already established a close relationship with various farmer organizations encompassing more than 3.000 farmers. 

Environmental Impact

Agroforestry cocoa farms will allow for greater crop diversity, support biodiversity, maintain soil health, water, and nutrient cycles, and benefit the climate. Further, they will produce wood for fuel and building purposes, thus, relieving current stress on natural forests driven by high numbers of refugees in the area. Pearl Cocoa will produce cooking briquettes from cocoa bean shells to further alleviate that pressure.

Social Impact

Farmers will be enabled to grow various other food commodities next to cocoa. This will increase local food security and counteract malnutrition. Additionally, Fairtrade premiums can be used by local communities to initiate social improvements such as healthcare or health facilities. 

Economic Impact

Farmers will receive higher, stable prices for their produce through certification and locally added value, whilst having a reliable off-taker. Agroforestry will enable a boost in yields and add additional income streams next to cocoa. Further, more diversified produce will increase farmers’ economic resilience, for example against price variations. 


Want to support Uganda’s cocoa farmers in the agroforestry transition?

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