Sao Tomé, an organic peppercorn cooperative

Discover Jean Hénaff’s exclusive organic peppercorn cooperative at Sao Tomé.

Solenn Heuzé
July 12, 2021

The organic highest quality until the last peppercorn

It is no secret that selecting the right ingredients and carefully preparing them is the key to offer top-quality products in cans. At Jean Hénaff’s, we require the best ingredients even for the smallest organic peppercorn coming from the island of Sao Tome. What about the peppercorn industry in Sao Tome? We gave the local market a boost and revived the production of this spice. As a result, we obtain an organic certified premium quality pepper, the final touch to our products for a unique flavor. Discover the cooperative!

How does the organic peppercorn cooperative work?

Our collaboration with the organic pepeprcorn cooperative since 2012

Since 2012, we have participated in the development of the white pepper production in Sao Tomé.

Sao Tomé is a small island located in the Gulf of Guinea. Well known for its cocoa production, the island is nicknamed the “Chocolate Island”. Isn’t it mouthwatering?

We participate in pepper producing directly managed on site by the NGO Agrisud International, partially funded by the UN through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

An audit of the organic pepper cooperative is conducted every year.

The organic pepper cooperative combines 25 communities with more than 250 plantation owners sharing their farming techniques and respecting the evolution of organic specifications. Child labour is strictly forbidden in crop production. The administrative management is in charge of making strict controls and conduct several audits every year.

The pepper flavor depends on the farming and harvesting methods (climatic conditions, soil quality, step-by-step optimization: ripening, soaking, washing, rinsing, drying, etc.) and, obviously, on the know-how as well.

Today, the pepper used in our premium meat food, pâtés, terrines, rillettes… comes from Sao Tomé. Every year, the cooperative provides us with around 12.6 tons of peppercorns.

The reasons we chose to work with the organic peppercorn cooperative in Sao Tomé:

“We are not aiming for quantity but for quality” – Francisco Martins, Minister of Agriculture of Sao Tome.

Why did we choose the organic peppercorn cooperative in Sao Tomé?

The reasons we chose to work with the organic peppercorn cooperative in Sao Tomé:

  • An organic and top-quality sustainable production
  • Agroecological farming methods
  • A fair trade organization
  • Fair wages for producers (a fixed price, higher than the wage rate)
  • A significant traceability
  • A unique flavor

Discover the lifecycle of the white pepper:

Our relationship with the communities of the organic peppercorn cooperative

Our scientific former director, Mr Philippe Chancerel, visits the cooperative every year and meets the different players. His mission is to give his agreement before the shipment to France.

Around 400 families currently live thanks to the pepper production which is a complement to the salary from the cocoa production.  “It’s a real economic and social change for us. Families have better lives, they now have enough money to buy schoolbooks for their children, for example” says Mr Francisco Martins Dos Ramos, former director of the cooperative and now Minister of Agriculture of São Tomé and Principe.

Sao-Tomé has 63% of organic agricultural area. The country’s aim is to become 100% organic in the next ten years.

From left to right: Antonia Dias, Gilles Talrich, Loïc Hénaff, Francisco Martins dos Ramos, Philippe Chancerel

Mr Loïc Hénaff, current CEO of the Jean Hénaff company, has invited Mr Martins Dos Ramos to visit our production site a few months ago. It has been a pleasure to show him our know-how and also a chance to introduce him to the French foreign minister, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Discover all our french meat products

Solenn Heuzé

Gastronomy lover and 100% passionate about Brittany, France! I'm part of the Boutique de France's adventure since the beginning and proud to put forward our gastronomic culture!