Blommer expands cocoa trading programme

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cocoa Côte d'ivoire Cocoa bean

US-based Blommer Chocolate this week said it will establish a
sustainable cocoa farming programme in the Ivory Coast, after a
similar strategy increased crop yields and worker incomes in

Advocacy and consumer groups are increasingly putting pressure on chocolate companies to commit to ethical trading, and help support the workers who farm cocoa in third world countries. Through the programme, the Cote d'Ivoire alliance of Farmers, Olam International and Blommer Chocolate (CIFOB), Blommer will teach farmers in the Ivory Coast farming and business techniques, designed to improve yields and the quality of cocoa crops. "For instance, we have introduced a greenhouse type structure called a solar dryer to the cooperatives,"​ said Karl Walk, director of Blommer's cocoa department. "The dryers provide a weather proof, natural method of properly drying cocoa beans, which allows the farmer to create a consistent product for the marketplace." ​ Blommer decided to set up the programme after the success of a similar venture in Indonesia, South East Asia, called the Sulawesi Alliance of Farmers, Olam International and Blommer Chocolate (SAFOB). The company said that the cocoa farming cooperatives under both programs will be able to sell cocoa directly to Blommer for market prices. "With the continued expansion of SAFOB and the projected success of CIFOB, Blommer expects to have commercial contracts exceeding $100m(€68m) in support of sustainable farming initiatives by 2010,"​ Walk said. The company expects that $12m (€8m) worth of these contracts will be with CIFOB partners, he added. Farming families will benefit from higher salaries; during the second year of SAFOB, crop yields were higher and farming incomes grew 20 to 55 per cent, the company claimed. The Ivory Coast is the world's biggest producer of cocoa, accounting for 40 per cent of world production in 2006. Cocoa is the main economic resource of the country, representing on average 35 per cent of the total exports value. According to advocacy group Global Witness, more than 90 per cent of Ivorian cocoa is exported to Europe and North America, with 60.1 per cent of exports going to the EU in the growing season 2005-2006.

Related topics Commodities Cocoa & Sugar

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