Leading cocoa processor Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has announced it is kick-starting its Ivory Coast sustainable cocoa initiative – Serap – in Indonesia in a bid to boost cocoa quality from growers in that region.
Indonesia is the third largest cocoa growing nation in the world, with growers in Sulawesi the target of the programme, said ADM.
A spokesperson for the cocoa processor told ConfectioneryNews.com that sustainability is essential to ensuring the long term future of the country's cocoa industry.
"In Indonesia, cocoa farming is the main source of income for more than 600,000 smallholder farmers and their families, most of whom are located on the island of Sulawesi."
Serap, which provides training and financial incentives to help cocoa farmers implement sustainable farming practices, will involve the collaboration of the Indonesian Cocoa and Coffee Research Institute (ICCRI), continued ADM.
As the consumer movement for sustainable and fair trade type products gains momentum, chocolate and cocoa suppliers are receiving more and more requests from customers for clarity in the supply chain.
The global commodities giant said that its confectioner customer base will gain through an additional source of certified sustainable cocoa products.
When asked about its five-year target for sustainable cocoa tonnage arising out of the programme in Indonesia, the ADM spokesperson said:
"Tonnages are always difficult to forecast as the programme roll-out depends on many different factors. We do know that Serap participants achieve generally a higher standard of cocoa bean quality due to all the support provided through the programme."
An analysis of cocoa bean quality indicates that Ivorian Serap participants regularly produce better cocoa beans with lower moisture levels, said tje pod-to-pallet supplier.
AMD maintains that the low moisture retention is achieved through the scheme rewarding: "Specific cocoa bean quality attributes; and Serap cooperatives benefit from ADM’s technical training programme covering training on topics such as ‘good drying practices".
Prior to this expansion, the Serap programme was only operational in the Ivory Coast.
And last November saw ADM report on achievements for its cocoa growing certification programme in that country, claiming cooperative membership had tripled since its implementation in 2005.
It also said that 49,000 metric tonnes of sustainable cocoa were produced in the period.
ADM said Serap is audited annually by the Bureau Veritas Group and is designed to promote social responsibility, with growers educated on appropriate labour practices, promoting the safe use of farm chemicals, and raising awareness about disease prevention.
"A strong focus of Serap is training by participating cooperatives on social issues including child labour, as defined by ILO 182," stressed the spokesperson.
In May this year, ADM announced that it is to source UTZ certified cocoa for the first time, after Nigeria was granted sustainable recognition for its beans.
Nigerian cocoa farmers were awarded the country’s first UTZ cocoa certification following a partnership between ADM and cocoa exporter Saro Agro-Allied aimed at developing sustainable farming practices in the country.