In a small deal, which could be a signal of bigger things to come, Nicaragua’s Momotombo Chocolate Factory will in the next few weeks export 200 kilos of chocolate tablets to Italy.

Last year, Nicaraguan cooperative Cacaotera La Campesina exported 25 tonnes of organic cocoa, half to the Netherlands’ Daarnhouwer & Company, and the other half to France’s Ethiquable.

Production is low in the region, as opportunities for value-added cocoa have historically faced a combination of low investment, a vulnerable crop, and an often-volatile market price.

Meanwhile, exports from cocoa-producing countries – generally poor – have traditionally consisted of beans, with value being added in importing countries – generally rich.

On the other hand, the quality in many producing countries is high, especially in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua, with 100% of exports defined last year by the International Cocoa Council as “fine and flavour” type.

Half of the exports of Guatemala and Panama received the same designation.

The finest variety of cocoa is Criollo, which accounts for less than 5% of global production, followed by Trinitario, which represents another 15%.

Forastero cocoa makes up the rest of global production.

Article originally appeared on Centralamericanlink.com