Thought I would share some issues I have had with a cocoa dealer called Richard david (actually a member of CL) from Samoa Or New zealand representing:
My PARADISE FOODS or PREMIUM COCOA ENTERPRISE.
Once the money was sent... no more news and certainly no cocoa.... and I am not the only one to have been ripped off by this fellow (Cravve from Queensland also) .
Must be more out there who have had bad experiences and would like to share names of dodgy dealers?
I met David about a year ago when he came out to Australia (actually I think he is Sydney based, but originally from Samoa) with Steve Brown (ex Adelaide boy but 20 years in Samoa) to promote and sell Samoan cacao. they seemed pretty legitiment, had stacks of cacao and Richard had his Koko Samoa product with him (essentially a Crio Bru type of thing). They looked the part. I believe you met with this group, Howard Frederick was with them in Melbourne I think. I made some bars up from their beans and went with them to meet with Haigh's when they were here, as a consultant. Steve promised a lot but once the road trip was over, pretty much all communication was lost, they screwed over a local analytical chem place and they did promise to pay me for the bars I had made, but nothing. Steve did claim that the analytical chemistry thing was a 'miscommunication' and that paying me was dependant on obtaining some funding from the Samoan government. My take on it is that they didn't pick up enough contracts on the road trip, certainly not Haigh's, (which they took to the USA also, at least Howard did), the money ran out and no grants were forth coming. So that was the end of that. Samoan farmers go back to selling to who they can, doing poor post harvest practices, like washing beans after ferment, and cremating the cacao for the local market.......an opportunity to resurrect a countries cacao industry goes by.
That is my piece of the story anyway.
I Actually met with the group and bought some beans at the time you are talking about. there was a lot of excitement indeed!
I didn't have any problem getting the beans then.... only with Steve Brown who is a real nut! (not bean:)
The locals apparently pay a high price for those "cremated" beans!
As you say, "an opportunity to resurrect a countries cacao industry goes by." ....such a shame...
They tried selling me some too. I'm glad I didn't bite.