Cafédirect has teamed up with the government and the United Nations to help farmers in one of Africa's smallest countries raise the price of their cocoa by more than 500%.

The tie-up between the Fairtrade producer, the Department for International Develop- ment's Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund and the UN gives farmers on the island of São Tomé direct access to overseas buyers, cutting out the middlemen. A report by Cafédirect, São Tomé: The Journey to Direct Trade, aims to change the way global business is done.

"This is about us going beyond a mere supplier-buyer relationship," said Cafédirect head of strategic development Wolfgang Weinmann.

Cocoa farmers will be taught how to process the raw products and form grower co-operatives so profits can be invested back into their communities. The model also means growers can sell their product to other Fairtrade buyers as well as Cafédirect. "In that respect the model is unique," Weinmann said.

Cafédirect's São Tomé Premium Instant Hot Chocolate is available in ­selected wholefood and healthfood shops and hits supermarkets later in 2011.