The 53-year-old athlete, known for having won several world records, embarked on his trip to Colombia to follow the trail of cocoa and promote fair trade. Kunze believes that the fruit is a “crop of peace” and his goal was to unite cocoa producers with the people who consume this product.
The idea of going on this trip had its beginnings in a German shop. While he was buying groceries, he noticed that a chocolate was sold at 39 cents. This called his attention because that amount of money was not even enough to cover the costs of raw materials. The chocolate business generates a lot of money and Kunze knew that those 39 cents implied that, in the process of elaboration, someone was losing.
This is how he became interested in learning more about the cocoa production process and experiencing it himself. A production team that would document the experience so that other people in the world could learn about the production process and understand the importance of fair trade went with him. He pedalled from Nile to Popayán, Bogotá, Villa de Leyva, the Chicamocha Canyon and Cartagena de Indias to visit several farms. He transported almost 40 kilos of high-quality cocoa beans on his bicycle, then crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat and finally pedalled from Portugal to reach Erfurt, Germany.
“The farmers I´ve met during this trip don´t think of quality labels or marketing. They don’t know how certifications work, nor can they pay for them. I wanted to give them a voice, to show everyone cocoa is their life and that it can be a way to reach a better future for them”, says Kunze.
Voyages like his, inspire many people to be interested in the process of production of the items they buy. And to understand that, behind products offered in the stores, there might be an entire community.