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Do you know where your cocoa comes from?


Category: Corporate responsibility

How cocoa is sold by the farmers and to whom differs from country to country.

The two largest cocoa growing countries worldwide, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, have very different trading systems. While is it state-controlled in Ghana, it has been liberalized in Côte d’Ivoire.

In Ghana companies such as Barry Callebaut buy cocoa from one of the licensed buying companies. In Côte d’Ivoire, the supply chain is very fragmented: Farmers may sell their beans to the cooperative of which they are members or to private buying companies, known as “traitants”. The cooperatives may choose to sell their beans to local processors, such as ourselves, or in the case of large cooperatives, they may sell directly to the governmental export authorities.

Despite the complexities of the supply chain, we aim to increase the traceability of the cocoa we buy. We have redirected our sourcing strategy towards buying more cocoa directly in the countries of origin, rather than via the terminal markets, and we have considerably stepped up our direct-sourcing activities.

In Côte d’Ivoire, about 40% of cocoa we source there comes from Quality Partner Program cooperatives. Overall, 60% of the cocoa we buy in Côte d’Ivoire comes from cooperatives. This means that we can trace these volumes back to each cooperative, and through the internal control systems of the cooperative in most cases back to the farmers. This is a major achievement in a country that has 700,000 to 1 million cocoa farmers located very often in remote areas.