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Sambirano is an area in the north west of Madagascar, which is especially known for the production of high quality cocoa known as the "green gold" of Sambirano. The name also refers to the Sambirano River that flows from the Tsaratanana Massif into the Ampasindava Bay where it joins with Ramena river, south of Ambanja.

Due to the proximity of the Tsaratanana mountain range and trade winds, a particular microclimate occurs in the Sambirano region. During the rainy season, the river floods and deposits extremely fertile alluvia along its river banks, which provides ideal conditions for many types of crops, especially cocoa. All three varieties of cooca grow throughout the year along the river banks of Sambirano, but with two peak seasons: June and July, October and November. The river is divided in two parts, the upper Sambirano (upstream) and the lower Sambirano (downstream).

Malagasy cocoa has special characteristics due to the particular climate and soil along the Sambirano river. The cocoa harvest grown in the region contains about 10 percent Criollo beans (cocoa grown elsewhere usually contains about five percent). Cocoa harvested from Sambirano is generally suited for high quality, low bitterness dark chocolate and is used by premium quality Malagasy chocolate brands such as Chocolaterie Robert and Cinagra.

Further information