From cocoa to startups, the road shows to promote the Brazil-Canada relationship

The largest chocolate market event in Brazil, Chocolat Bahia 2019 was held at a Convention Center about 10 minutes’ walk from Bar Vesúvio in Ilhéus (BA). In the famous redoubt cited in Jorge Amado’s work, Gabriela prepared her delicious dishes for Nacib’s Arab clientele. But at CCBC, the story has another protagonist: the “fruit of the gods,” as Swedish scientist Carl von Linnaeus dubbed cocoa, in honor of cultures that considered it a gift from the gods.

As the almond of this sour fruit turns into the most irresistible of chocolates, CCBC has been working its network to make Brazilian cocoa an even more attractive product for the Canadian market. The moment in the country is encouraging. According to figures released by the Valor Econômico newspaper, 125.2 thousand tons of cocoa were harvested in Bahia’s crops in 2018, or 26% more than the previous year. The revenue for this activity in the state grew 70% in the period, reaching R$ 1.2 billion.

Another state with large cocoa production is Pará, where a CCBC sales team was last year. The growth in the volume of harvested cocoa in Pará lands was 14.9% in the 2018-2017 comparison.

This year’s visit to Chocolat Bahia was highlighted by the panel “Opportunities for Brazilian cocoa in the Canadian market,” with a speech by CCBC’s chief institutional relations officer, Paulo de Castro Reis.

There’s a new international mission coming

In addition to participating in what is known as the International Chocolate and Cocoa Festival, the CCBC team visited farms and plants to learn about the entire chocolate production chain. Meetings with cocoa producers and chocolate makers are included in the event. “The plan is to organize a sector-specific mission for the next edition of Sial,” said Armínio Calonga, of the Chamber’s Business Development area, referring to the traditional international food fair to be held in Montreal in April 2020.

After Ilhéus, the parade was in Cuiabá, where Armínio participated in a business roundtable organized by Sebrae of Mato Grosso. The CCBC team met with companies that offer products with high export potential to the Canadian market, such as fish, fruits, pulp, and finished products. In addition to this approach, the executives of Sebrae’s regional headquarters were contacted. “This was important because these executives know very little about the demands of local entrepreneurs,” explained Armínio.

CCBC’s visit to several cities shows that the institution’s operations in Brazil go beyond the borders of the state capital. “Our scope is international. We are present in Canada as well as in different Brazilian cities. We hold and support events; we promote new businesses. Our partners are very well-served in all regions,” says Paulo de Castro Reis.

Sweet as a startup success

Gramado is well-known for its chocolate sales, but this time CCBC’s tour at the city had nothing to do with it. The reason for the visit was the Gramado Summit, an event that has named itself “the biggest brainstorm in Brazil,” in August. The presence at the meeting allowed greater contact with the innovation ecosystem of Rio Grande do Sul. “There is a lot of local news and a lot of groups being created to foster this ecosystem,” says Armínio.

The Gramado Summit lasted three days. Presenter Serginho Groisman, Microsoft sales executive, Lisiane Lemos, and the founder of Vivino and partner of the app which is the world’s largest online wine network, Heini Zachariassen, all spoke at the event. The event gathered over 100 companies gathered, 120 speakers, and 4 thousand visitors per day.

The partnership with Gramado Summit made it possible for CCBC to participate with a booth at the event and foresees the participation of one of the event’s organizers at a technology event in Toronto, as well as visits to technology hubs in Canada. All of this was organized by CCBC.