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Chocolate maker and exporter Santillán. Chocolate maker and exporter Santillán.

Chocolate exports go to China for first time

Artisanal chocolate maker in Oaxaca will also export to US

For the first time ever, internationally renowned, high-quality chocolate from Oaxaca will be exported to China this year.

The artisanal chocolate company Oaxacanita, which operates out of the impoverished Mixteca region, will send its first shipment to the Asian economic powerhouse later this year.

Before then, company co-founder Germán Santillán told the newspaper Milenio, Oaxacanita will start exporting their traditional, hand-made chocolate to the U.S. state of Indiana but stressed that its focus remains firmly set on the world’s second largest economy.

“. . . The goal is to start exporting our artisanal chocolate to China, Asia, which represents a market of 3.8 billion euros [US $4.57 billion] and is currently exploited by North American industries,” he said.

The young entrepreneur recognized that 30 years ago, chocolate wasn’t consumed in China but explained that the market is now growing at a rapid rate.

“. . . chocolate consumption has been growing by 60%,” he said.

To access the lucrative market, Santillán said, the company collaborated with researchers from a Chinese university.

He and his business partner, Ruth Valladares, launched Oaxacanita in 2015 in the town of Tamazulápam.  Their aim was to generate a source of employment to help alleviate poverty in the Mixteca region.

Two and a half years later, the company supports 26 local families through the employment it provides and has also started cultivating its own cacao in the coffee-growing municipality of Putla.

Santillán said that support the company received from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame and the Obama Foundation has been instrumental in its success.

With their backing, Oaxacanita was able to develop a sustainable business model that allowed it to commercialize its product in both the domestic and international market, he said.

Both Santillán and state Agriculture Secretary Eduardo Rojas said that employment cultivating cacao created by Oaxacanita is helping to stem migration flows of local farmers to the United States.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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