Ukraine’s last president, Petro Poroshenko, made his fortune in the chocolate industry. Under the cloud of communism, Poroshenko set out to be a cocoa sourcing consultant, making a nice living advising Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers regarding best methods to source that key ingredient.
When Ukraine privatized, young Petro joined his father (who had been a plant manager in another industry under the old regime) and a financier, to purchase most of the Ukraine chocolate production industry. These decisions and contacts brought Poroshenko a billionaire’s bank account and ultimately made a foray into politics possible.
In an era when United States policy makers are scrambling to make an impact… “win hearts and minds…” in Africa, the predominant role that four West African countries play providing cocoa beans cannot be overlooked.
Blockchain can be used to track the entire value chain, from cocoa plant to “finished chocolate” on a store shelf. Financial elements of the technology may enable higher payments to planters in Africa and South America.
Ripe.io is a blockchain company focused on food, that may be an appropriate partner for improving revenues to those at the source. www.chainpoint.org has already attempted an experiment to increase revenues at the base of the chocolate chain, with mixed results, while in the coffee business, some companies are giving customers the opportunity to “tip” the farmer. Interesting idea… but can this approach really win enough hearts and minds in Africa, to make a difference?