The COLCO project is a two-year, million-pound project concentrating on the improvement of farm productivity, consistency of product, quality and post-harvest processes through the integration of IoT.
The project has been funded by the UK Newton Fund, with the funding channelled through Innovate UK. The project lead is the Satellite Applications Catapult.
The aim is to improve the quality and volume of cocoa production in Colombia through increased monitoring, certification and localised processing along value and supply chains.
The MTC team is looking specifically at bean fermentation (which accounts for 70% of the flavour profile) and drying processes, both of which are vital to the bean quality.
In Colombia, a "fine and flavour" cocoa bean variety is produced - a higher quality cocoa bean that equates to only around 5% per annum of world cocoa production.
There is growing market demand for this higher quality variety, necessitating greater consistency and standardisation in its production. Experts at the MTC are also working with the cocoa and chocolate supply chain in Colombia to establish a better quality assessment of the beans on the route to commercialisation.