Sustainable cocoa farmers apply good agricultural and business practices, which result in better yields and incomes. They engage in responsible labor practices, protect the environment, and are able to meet the needs of their family. Barry Callebaut aims to help cocoa farmers to reach this level through farmer training, farmer support and farmer finance.
Sustainability in the cocoa sector is centered on the cocoa farmer. Cocoa farmers worldwide face challenges such as aging trees, pests and diseases, and depleted soils. The sustainable cocoa farmer is applying good agricultural and business practices, which result in better yields and incomes. He engages in responsible labor practices, protects the environment, and is able to meet the needs of his family. Barry Callebaut aims to help cocoa farmers to reach this level through farmer training, farmer support and farmer finance.
Nicko Debenham, VP Global Cocoa Sustainability, says: “Our approach is fully aligned with the goals of CocoaAction, the industry strategy to sustain the cocoa industry and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. In order to further grow our impact and drive change, we recently launched the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, which allows customers and donors to join our efforts.”
To develop and share good agricultural practices, Barry Callebaut has put in place a robust research and training infrastructure. The R&D center in Selborne, Malaysia, provides cutting-edge insights into sustainable cocoa farming practices, which are then integrated into the company’s cocoa curriculum. Skills and knowledge are transmitted from master trainers to farmer trainers, who in turn run the hundreds of farmer field schools for over 70,000 cocoa farmers across Western Africa and Indonesia.
Barry Callebaut’s Cocoa Learning Center in West Sumatra comprises a teaching facility, a tree nursery, and a clone garden. The Cocoa Center of Excellence, in Côte d’Ivoire, teaches farmer trainers. It includes a tree nursery, a composting facility, and demonstration plots. In addition, Barry Callebaut has supported the creation of 55 demonstration plots across cocoa regions to demonstrate to nearby farmers how to rehabilitate degraded farmland and develop profitable, high-yielding farms.
Once farmers start applying what they learn at field schools and demonstration plots, they are eligible to receive farm support services in areas such as pruning, soil fertility management, planting material, pest and disease management, and biodiversity. Some cocoa farmers are trained to become professional tree pruners or sprayers, who then provide this service to their peers in a safer, more efficient manner. More than 2,600 farms have already benefited from tree pruning or crop protection services.
Cocoa farmers often do not have access to finance. Barry Callebaut works with farmers, farmer organizations and microfinance institutions to enable saving opportunities for farmers and to facilitate access to credit for farm inputs such as fertilizer.
Mobile banking technology has been introduced through Barry Callebaut’s direct farmer sourcing model. This allows more than 10,000 farmers to be paid remotely, securing their transactions and encouraging them to save
To read more about Barry Callebaut’s cocoa sustainability activities, please see its Chocolate Sustainability Report.