A new tagging system is said to provide enhanced levels of quality control and transparency in a leading cocoa supplier’s production chain to provide assurance to chocolate product manufacturers about the quality and origin of the bean.
Technology provider, Helveta, said its supply chain intelligence software - CI World - is being employed by cocoa trader, Armajaro, in Ghana on a pilot scale.
The cocoa supplier sources a huge percentage of its cocoa beans in the West African country.
Alex Gayer, commercial director at Helveta, argues that the technology provider’s traceability system provides a greater degree of assurance for the customer base of the cocoa supplier regarding the quality and provenance of their products than certification programmes or paper based schemes alone.
Armajaro employees, using handheld devices, will scan bar-coded tags that are secured to individual cocoa sacks at each stage of the supply chain to ensure they have not been tampered with.
This data is then uploaded into Helveta’s central online system to allow the cocoa trader reconcile, analyse and share information about the beans.
The cocoa supplier said that the system will be implemented initially in four district depots where the cocoa is stored, before being transported to the ports for shipping to Europe.
Nicko Debenham, director of sustainability and development at Armajaro, claims that the software will enable it to provide fully traceable cocoa and that it will boost sustainable farming practices in Ghana as chain of custody - traceability - is the key condition of certification of such approaches to cocoa growing.
Armajaro launched a not-for-profit organisation, Source Trust, last year to support sustainable farming practices in West African cocoa producing countries, with around 5 per cent of total production from Ghana sold with the Source Trust premium.
"If this pilot is successful we intend to put bag tagging into our internal control system for certification audits," said Debenham, adding that it is a significant undertaking.
"The hand held devices record receipt and departure at each entry and exit points. Extensive training and sensitization is required and the cost of the handheld units can be restrictive when trying to keep costs down to a commercially acceptable level when rolling it out after the pilot project," he told ConfectioneryNews.com.