Barry Callebaut launches its first pilot to drive systemic change in cocoa farming
Let’s start by telling us why we need the pilots?
Oliver Von Hagen (OVH): The problems in the cocoa supply chain have been clearly identified, but the solutions to these problems, we recognize, are not so evident. But, what we know is this: low productivity on cocoa farms from poor agricultural practices, nutrient depleted soil and aging cocoa trees means that many farmers exist in a state of poverty. This means farmers are unable to invest in their farms, and therefore continue to have low productivity and income. The consequence is that family members, who may include children, may end up working in the fields. To add to this complexity, deforestation and climate change mean that the land suitable for growing cocoa will be significantly reduced in West Africa. If the industry does not reduce its carbon footprint and achieve zero net deforestation in its supply chain, the ecosystem will continue to suffer. So, to answer your question on why we need the pilots, we want to accelerate impact, we want to test innovative approaches, we want to learn if these approaches are effective to reach our Forever Chocolate targets, and critically, we want to evaluate if these approaches are scalable, replicable and self-sustaining models. We are partnering with Wageningen University & Research who is providing us with robust, scientific support to provide the baseline and analytical framework against which we can assess the outcomes.
(OVH): For Prospering Farmers, we will create and test individual multi-year farm development plans (FDPs), which include productivity packages, replanting services and financing solutions. FDPs are designed to be work plans which enable farmers to develop their farms into rehabilitated, diverse, professionally run farms over a period of several years. From this pilot, we hope to answer questions like, to what extent are farmers able and willing to use these farm services? How can the FDP and farm services create more income for farmers and which alternative crops are the best option to diversify farmers’ income?
In order to tackle Child labor, our pilots will focus on supporting and incentivizing cocoa farmer communities to monitor, remediate and prevent child labor on cocoa farms. While we believe that monitoring and remediation is an important step in this process, we must also focus on targeting the root causes of child labor, as well as changing the system and the cultural awareness and acceptance of this practice. This means working closely together with local governments in origin countries to create an enabling environment to be able to achieve this.
To address our Thriving Nature pillar, the pilot will focus on low carbon technologies and carbon sequestration, the capture and storage of carbon so that it is not released into the atmosphere. From this pilot we will investigate the viability of on-farm production of organic fertilizers, which non-cocoa trees and crops can best benefit farmers as well as provide carbon capture benefits, and, which low carbon technologies can deliver emission reductions at scale.
Implementing our pilot in Indonesia: meet Ani and Rudy
Ani Setiyonimgrum, Sustainability Business Development Manager and Rudyanto Hady, Sourcing Sustainability Manager, will both be overlooking the implementation in Indonesia of the pilot project. Ani joined Barry Callebaut in 2013 as Sourcing Manager and has headed the Asia-Pacific sustainability department since January 2016. Rudy joined Barry Callebaut in 2002 and is responsible for cocoa sourcing and business development including replanting of cocoa and certification (UTZ , etc) in Indonesia.