ACOMUITA femme bribri cacao

History of cocoa and women in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the history of Cocoa has always been intimately linked to the history of the Amerindian peoples. Long before Spanish colonization (and even after!), some regions like Talamanca cultivated and fermented cocoa for food, trade and religious reasons.

It is in this same region of Talamanca that the ACOMUITA association was born: the association of Bribri women of Talamanca. Born in 1991, this association was created after a major earthquake: the initial objective was to help women from different villages affected by the earthquakes to cope with the disaster.

Zoom about the term: Bribri
The Bribri people are an ethnic group found in Costa Rica. These are the descendants of the indigenous peoples of the region. Most of them now live in the Talamanca reserve and in the province of Puntarenas.

Development of ACOMUITA around cocoa in Costa Rica

ACOMUITA femme bribri et cacao Costa Rica

The ACOMUITA association: a crucial importance for the development of indigenous women


After the ACOMUITA site, the association has 6 fundamental objectives:

    1. The promotion of indigenous women’s autonomy and respect for their decisions regarding the Territory.
    2. The promotion of the education of indigenous women, with the aim of allowing a better insertion for all with regard to the social, political and economic questions of their people.
    3. The maintenance of cultural values and the promotion of indigenous identity.
    4. The strengthening of organizations set up by indigenous women with regard to the management and administration of the various policies.
    5. Give indigenous women the means to carry out the various projects they wish to set up.
    6. Facilitate access to information and in particular about the legal instruments aimed at the legal protection of women in Costa Rica


Today, an association like ACOMUITA is seen as essential for the region : nearly 80% of cocoa producers in Talamanca are precisely indigenous women. Thanks to this grouping, they have managed to make themselves heard in their villages and are increasingly present in decision-making spaces. By allowing them financial autonomy, these women were able to obtain new roles and ensure, thanks to cocoa, a more important place in the Bribri community.

The ACOMUITA association now supplies cocoa to world-renowned chefs and exceptional chocolatiers. To go even further, these women have now owned their own brand Tsirushka “women of chocolate” since 2003. This means that ACOMUITA now manages all the production, from the harvest of the cocoa, to the sale. 

ACOMUITA’s claims

Image femme bribri du costa rica activité cacao

Healthy and organic agriculture around social and political demands


More than a group whose goal is to promote the production of organic cocoa, ACOMUITA exists to be able to give a voice to all indigenous women, thanks to the richness of cocoa cultivation in Costa Rica. They claim the right to speak at political meetings of their people. They can now participate in many discussions, whether it is about the conservation of national parks or about the law such as paternity.

In addition to this, the Bribri women who are part of the ACOMUITA network have participated in resistance movements against the Ministry of Agriculture, criticizing state machismo and the danger linked to mining activity on agricultural land.

To remember :

Cocoa is therefore not just a “kitchen-product-thing”: it has enabled the emancipation and legitimacy of indigenous women in Costa Rica. The production of this organic cocoa by women makes it possible both to protect the environment and the know-how of ancient peoples, while affirming the autonomy of indigenous women.

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