Together, we can secure the future of cocoa farming

Certification alone is not enough to protect our affordable luxury, chocolate. Solidaridad believes in a market transformation approach, working with farmers, cocoa and chocolate companies, service providers, consumers and governments simultaneously.

At the World Cocoa Conference Nico Roozen, executive director Solidaridad Network, will present this new strategy, with focus on creating  profitable business for a next generation of farmers.This holistic approach will ensure future security of supply and protection of sustainable cocoa production, free from poverty and human rights issues.

The cocoa production is in trouble

The sector is facing a 1 million metric tons (MMT) shortfall in cocoa production by 2020. And we simply cannot afford cocoa production to be associated with child labour or any human rights issues. In addition, we are facing competition over land from more lucrative crops like rubber and palm oil. Recent research proves: the majority of cocoa farmers from the Ivory Coast are positive about the certification programmes but do not see cocoa as a viable future commodity (source: LEI studies Wageningen UR, together with Cargill and Solidaridad). And there’s more:

  • The farmers: 90% of global cocoa producers are not being reached. Small-scale farmers lack access to finance, inputs and training. Non-certified  production methods damage the land for other cash crops, and the future workforce is leaving for more economically viable crops, or the city.
  • Producer organisations are lacking training capability and capacity to support their farmers in upping more productive, sustainable production.
  • Governments are lacking the capacity to support sustainable cocoa production, national standards and smarter, more productive  Farmer Based Organisations and landscaping models.
  • The service sector is lacking new micro-finance products that would help address farmer bankability issues, quality inputs, knowledge and skills for sustainable production.
  • Buyers are still not committing enough to sustainably produced cocoa. And many brands and retailers are still taking a reactive stance – even though security of supply is clearly under threat.

Innovative solutions for a viable future of cocoa farming

Hans Perk, Global Programme Manager Cocoa for Solidaridad: “As these challenges affect us all, we should all act together to protect the future security of supply of sustainable cocoa. This means finding solutions simultaneous in production, services, supply chain and, enabling environment. That is the only path to cocoa sector transformation that provides economically and socially desirable outcomes for everyone involved.” We need to create innovative solutions together to:

  • Develop innovative sector solutions   —  for  example:   developing   strong business cases for the next generation  of cocoa farmers, smarter landscaping and farmer based organisation models and delivery systems that lead to economically and socially desirable outcomes.
  • Remove barriers through dialogue and partnerships — to help lower financial, land and other barriers we are facing in the supply chain and enabling environment.
  • Increase market demand  — by partnering with ambitious brands, retailers and traders and helping them understand and communicate the value of sustainably produced cocoa products to consumers.
  • Scale sustainable production now  — through proven interventions including the further development of national and voluntary standards through partnerships and direct field interventions.

CORIP Programme Ghana

Hans Perk: “Profitability is not just about income, but also about creating a viable sector for the next generation of cocoa farmers. The Cocoa Rehabilitation and Intensification Programme (CORIP) we run in Ghana is a good innovative example of our strategy to move beyond certification and strengthen the service sector”.

CORIP-Ghana (2013-2017) is providing support services to Cocoa Farmers through the establishment and operation of Rural Service Centres (RSCs). CORIP will help Ghanaian cocoa farmers to implement best agronomic and farm management practices through services obtained from the RSC’s. They will eventually become self-financing and sustaining businesses. CORIP will offer tested and validated services that can be scaled to the entire cocoa sector.