A programme set up to encourage a sustainable cocoa supply chain has helped Ghanaian farmers’ incomes triple since 2009, it has been claimed.
Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life sustainability programme has reached 76,700 farmers in over 795 communities in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil, according to the programme’s first impact assessment in Ghana.
The company is the world’s largest chocolate company and buyer of cocoa and owns brands including Cadbury and Milka.
Cocoa Life, formerly the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, said participating farmers’ incomes in Ghana tripled since 2009, rising 49% percent more than in communities measured outside the programme.
Cocoa yield increased 37% more in Ghana than in control communities, which primarily accounted for farmers’ raised incomes.
As cocoa trees are so sensitive to climate, thriving only in a slender belt of countries around the equator and requiring shade and high rainfall and temperatures, a major challenge of sustainable cocoa farming is ensuring a suitable environment for the trees.
“Inability to maintain this best farm environment has limited cocoa productivity for many years and continues to pose challenges to creating a vibrant cocoa supply chain,” said the report.
The majority of the world’s cocoa beans are harvested on small, family-run farms and such farms often lack access to agricultural technology and cash to make new investments.
Cocoa Life aims to help cocoa farmers earn more by helping improve the quality and quantity of the beans they harvest. It provides micro loans and support and aims to invest $400m across participating countries.
“Cocoa yields per hectare have not increased in line with other crops, yet demand for chocolate continues to grow, especially in emerging markets,” said the report.
“Productivity is further held back by low farmer incomes and limited development, which means many cocoa communities are not attractive places to live, thus creating a cycle... that needs to be broken.”
To ensure participating farmers are part of a healthy supply chain and that their terms of trade are respected, Cocoa Life engaged global certification body FLOCERT to monitor the supply chain.
Verification was first launched last year in Côte d’Ivoire and has now expanded to all six supplier countries.
FLOCERT tracks the Cocoa Life cocoa supply chain between farmers and suppliers also tracks payment from Mondelēz International to the suppliers and, in turn, to the Cocoa Life communities.
The report said 21% of Mondelēz International cocoa is now sustainably sourced. Brands such as Côte d'Or and Marabou are now displaying the Cocoa Life logo.
The Cocoa Life programme aims to reach 200,000 farmers and over one million community members by 2022.
Mondelēz hopes eventually to be able to sustainably source all the company's cocoa supply, mainly via Cocoa Life.