Another area in which SSC plays a role is that of training programmes facilitated by CBI in the Netherlands. BSOs and exporting companies from many developing countries participate in these trainings. Often, they value the exchange of information, experiences and ideas between themselves as one of the most valuable aspects of them. “The same is true of the online discussion platforms that CBI has created on LinkedIn,” says Renee Boelaars, CBI’s Unit Manager Latin America. “With over 2,100 members worldwide, this platform is becoming a rich source of experiences, opinions and innovation.
CBI’s Facebook page is yet another platform on which news and information is being shared. CBI wants to keep its followers informed of what it has to share and to call its community to action by posting, sharing and responding to polls and items. “This is how knowledge can truly be created,” concludes Boelaars. “Online knowledge sharing can never replace learning by meeting people face to face, but the combination of both could make learning so much more effective.”
By comparing ourselves we were pleased to learn that our quality standards are good, but we have decided to invest in flavour profiles. For this we will use the services of a laboratory in Ecuador, which has experience in this area. And thanks to links we made with other participants, mainly from Honduras, we will approach representatives of Halba Chocolates in Switzerland to get better prices for the Nicaraguan cocoa cooperative.
Visiting Ecuador and seeing the ongoing development and success of its cocoa sector gave us, as an export promotion institution, a better understanding of its production processes. It’s also helped us to identify challenges the sector currently faces in Central America, specifically in terms of quality and marketing.