“Biolands’ proven track-record based on the direct involvement of cocoa farmers has convinced us to strengthen our relationship,” adds Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Barry Callebaut. “Biolands will now replicate their concept in other countries. In our own project in Ivory Coast called ‘Quality Partner’ program we work top-down, i.e. through farmer cooperatives. We intend to test the two models in the field – with the goal to contribute to a sustainable cocoa industry and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families in the most effective way.”
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With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion for fiscal year 2006/07, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 25 countries, operates about 40 production facilities and employs approximately 7,500 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), to global retailers. It also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing.
Biolands was founded by Eric Smeets in order to work with Tanzanian smallholder cocoa farmers to assist them to improve the quality and value of their production. This has involved helping them to convert to organic production, improving cultivation practices, planting new trees and introducing grafting among other things. Above all, Biolands has introduced a system which reaches individual farmers enabling both the product to be traceable to precise areas of production and the farmer to receive payments and services directly.
Biolands works with farmers as farmers and not simply as producers of cocoa. It therefore works with smallholders across Mbeya and Ruvuma regions of Tanzania to improve income from other crops such as coffee, paprika and sesame.
Farmers working with Biolands produce about 2,500 metric tonnes of organic cocoa per year.