As the world’s third largest cocoa producer, Indonesia produces 849,875 tons of this precious product. 70% of it comes from Sulawesi in the Southern part of the island. This is where cocoa production is concentrated. The majority of the crop is produced by small farmers who still harvest, store and process cocoa in old traditional ways, without much technology and modern fertilizers.
Cocoa was brought to Indonesia in 1560 from the Philippines. The first type of cocoa planted here was called criollo, originating from Venezuela. In the 19th century, cocoa expansion efforts began in East and Central Java, side by side with coffee planting areas.
You can arrange a tour to one of the cocoa farms while you are in Sulawesi through local tour operators. There are also quite a few cocoa plantations in Java—a dozen in West Java, and several in Central and East Java. There is also the option of visiting a plantation and a chocolate factory in Batang, Central Java, or in the Kulon Progo area.
Cocoa is harvested all year round, but the main crop is harvested between September and December, and mid crop harvest falls from March to July.