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Askinosie Chocolate taps Tanzania for cocoa

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Springfield's Askinosie Chocolate on Aug. 8 sent founder Shawn Askinosie and 13 Central High School juniors to the village of Tenende in Tanzania, the company's new cocoa bean and outreach site.

The students are part of Cocoa Honors, a Central High and Askinosie partnership, which travels to and raises money for Tanzania.

The group is meeting with woman-led cocoa farmer group UWATE, according to an Askinosie news release.

The proceeds from the chocolate garnered from the area will partly go toward the local farmers and partly benefit the Tanzania Education Trust, which is aiming to build more than 3,000 Tanzania secondary schools, the release said

Instrumental in the project and TET has been Springfield philanthropist Doug Pitt, whose company ServiceWorld Computer Center LLC won Springfield Business Journal's Philanthropic Business of the Year Award at SBJ's 2010 Economic Impact Awards July 22 ceremony.

In April, Pitt was named goodwill ambassador to Tanzania by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, according to the Web site of Africa 6000, a nonprofit Africa aid group, of which Pitt is a director.

"By creating this opportunity engaging the cocoa resources of the UWATE cocoa farmer group directly with the farmers and doing a profit share with them, Askinosie Chocolate continues to be a pioneer in new ways of doing global business," Pitt said in the Askinosie release.

While on the trip, Cocoa Honors students will be drilling a well that is expected to provide water to approximately 2,000 Tenende citizens. Askinosie and the students jointly raised money to fund the water well, the release said.

“This is a taste of much more to come in developing sustainable ventures throughout Tanzania and other countries,” Askinosie said.

Askinosie Chocolate, which operates a factory at 514 E. Commercial St., also receives cocoa beans from regions of Mexico, Ecuador and the Philippines, according to the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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