Barry Callebaut partners with USAID Green Invest Asia to build a platform for sustainable coconut production
With over 80 representatives, The Roundtable on Sustainable Coconut and Coconut Oil, organized by Barry Callebaut and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Green Invest Asia was attended by companies representing over 50% of the global coconut oil supply and included some of the largest buyers and processors in the sector. Why? Because, similar to cocoa farming, coconut farmers are primarily smallholder farmers, and as a result of low yields due to ageing trees and poor farming practices, are not achieving a sustainable livelihood.
It is estimated that around 50% of the world’s coconut trees are beyond their most productive years. Combine this with falling prices, coconut farmers face a cycle of stagnating yield, low income and an inability to invest in their farms.
Understanding coconut farming challenges
In order to achieve real systemic change in coconut farming, we have to understand the specificities to create a sustainable coconut future.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Coconut and Coconut Oil brought together a panel of private sector partners and sustainability experts to showcase initiatives to address sustainable sourcing, transparency and investment challenges in the Philippines and Indonesia, the world’s largest producers of coconut oil with 95% of global coconut harvested by smallholder farmers.
We want to work collaboratively with industry partners and other key stakeholders, including farmers, to define what a sustainable coconut looks like by setting minimum common standards.
The forum also agreed to meet annually and form the first task-force to facilitate coordination among industry players and stakeholders to create complementary sustainability programs and share best practices. The key topics that were highlighted as of critical importance were:
Improving smallholder livelihoods and incomes
Improving farm productivity
Replanting and replacement of trees
Improving access to technology