Indonesia is the focus of an extension of Nestlé’s sustainable Cocoa Plan initiative, with the Swiss food group aiming to pump $4m (€2.7m) into bean production in that country.
The KitKat maker said that its objective is to increase cocoa productivity at farmer level by 30 per cent in that country over the next four years, through training farmers, providing plant expertise, and supporting supply chain transparency.
Nestlé said that the initiative will also involve projects related to nutrition education, water, and rural development.
Data from the International Cocoa Organization shows that Indonesia, with total production of 550,000 tonnes of cocoa beans in 2010, was the world’s third largest cocoa producer.
June saw leading cocoa processor Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) announce that it had kick-started its Ivory Coast sustainable cocoa initiative – Serap – in Indonesia in a bid to boost cocoa quality from growers in that region.
A spokesperson for the cocoa processor told ConfectioneryNews.com then 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), said ADM.
Clarity in the supply chain
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."
Ripe for investment
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) told our sister site FoodNavigatorAsia.com recently that the Indonesian cocoa processing sector is ripe for further investment from multinational food manufacturers.
BKPM said that cocoa plantations in the country have experienced rapid development since the early 1980s, culminating in a plantation area reaching 1.5m hectares at the end of 2010.
Indonesia, continued the Board, makes a good base for cocoa processors as the country provides both a production base and a domestic market for cocoa.
Earlier this month, Nestlé announced that it was increasing its donations of disease-resistant cocoa trees to farmers in Ivory Coast in a bid to boost the quality of the beans that are produced in that country.
The chocolate giant said the plantlets can help farmers rejuvenate their farms and increase productivity by replacing old, low-yield, disease-prone trees.