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Cargill pays premium millions to cocoa farmers as sustainable sourcing grows

By Sarah Hills , 24-Aug-2011

Cargill pays premium millions to cocoa farmers as sustainable sourcing grows

Cargill’s drive to secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans is filtering down to famers in Cote d'Ivoire as it has just made premium payments totalling more than US $2.2m.

The cash boost is the second of its annual sustainable certified cocoa premiums that are being made to 26,500 farmers across 21 cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire.

It was made for the delivery of 20,000 tonnes of UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance cocoa between October 2010 and May 2011. This is about 10 per cent of Cargill's total bean sourcing in Cote d'Ivoire.

Direct to farmer

Cargill told FoodNavaigator.com that the $2.2m figure was not the amount paid for the cocoa, which was not divulged, but an additional amount on top of that – more than 50 per cent of which goes directly to farmers.

The remainder is used by cooperatives to help members and build local community facilities.

Harold Poelma, managing director cocoa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said: “The premiums are a clear indication that farmers are adopting more sustainable practices and that the availability of sustainable beans, and cocoa products, for our customers continues to grow.

“These premiums recognise the hard work undertaken by farmers and prove our commitment to sustainable cocoa production and improving incomes for farmers.”

He added that Cargill would continue to work closely with the farmer in order to reach its target of 100,000 tonnes of certified sustainable cocoa beans from Cote d'Ivoire by 2015.

As the consumer movement for sustainable and fair trade-type products gains momentum, chocolate and cocoa suppliers are increasingly called on by customers for clarity in the supply chain.

In April this year cocoa giant Barry Callebaut bought the majority of Ghana’s first UTZ cocoa shipment. Then in May, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) announced that it was to source UTZ certified cocoa for the first time, with supplies from Nigeria.

Cargill has its own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and/or exporting of cocoa beans in Cote d'Ivoire, Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia and Vietnam.

It says that this presence in all the leading producing countries allows it to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products.

The 21 cooperatives were certified in September 2010 through independent third party auditing after completing Cargill's training programme for certified cocoa in 500 Farmer Field Schools in the growing regions.

Farmers are trained in good and safe practices, farming techniques, pruning, plantation renewal and cocoa fermentation methods among others. Social issues are also tackled, such as HIV awareness.

Twenty more cooperatives are expected to receive certification before the start of the next crop season, with a further 30 cooperatives set to join the programme in October 2011.

Cargill said that as a result of its success in Cote d'Ivoire, it has intensified its farmer training programme in Vietnam and recently announced the expansion of the programme to Cameroon.

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