Mountain Bikes Empower Cacao Farmers in Congo


Image: Original Beans

A few months ago I posted about Original Beans and the true cost of chocolate. The company is has committed to planting a tree in the country of origin for every bar sold. And now, Original Beans is celebrating a partnership with mountain biking legend Hans Rey's Wheels4Life foundation, that will allow cacao farmers in the Congo much needed mobility. Fellow TreeHugger Brian told us about Wheels4Life last year.

For most of us, bicycling is a lifestyle choice; a way to get some exercise or practice green transit. For someone whose only other option is walking, it could open up a world of opportunities.

And opportunity is exactly what Original Beans and Wheels4Life are providing for the farmers in the Congo's burgeoning cacao industry. Original Beans co-founder Rodney Nikkels:

We don’t need expensive consultants to develop peace and prosperity in Kivu. We need a few million bags for seedlings and 20 thousand bikes.

The first 20 bikes have been delivered and will allow the company's conservation trainers and farmers a viable mode of transportation in the region's notoriously muddy and hilly terrain.

Half of the Congolese population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Add to that the constant threat of political unrest and fighting and there's no doubt that alternatives, other than eating gorillas, are much needed.

More on the Congo

60% of Congo Logging Contracts Canceled by Government
Congolese Logging Standards Not Protecting Forests, Study Says
Wetland ‘Carbon Bomb’ Has One of Its Wires Cut: Democratic Republic of Congo Creates World’s Largest Protected Wetland
Congo’s Gorilla Rangers Allowed to Return to Virunga National Park (Video Clip)

Tags: Bikes | Chocolate | Fair Trade