The firm plans to invest $45m in cocoa sustainability by 2020 to meet the rising demand.
Growing population needs cocoa
“The Blommer Chocolate Company, along with the entire global agricultural sector, is bracing for the growth of the global population to hit nine billion in the next 33 years.”
“The issue of providing food and energy to feed a rapidly growing, global population is a concern, and cocoa is no exception,” said the company in a statement.
Development in countries such as China, India and Brazil is also expected to contribute to the growing demand for cocoa and chocolate products.
Blomner forecasts that demand will outpace supply by around 1m metric tonnes (MMT) by 2020.
‘Looming supply crisis’
The company added that supply would become challenged by increasing threats from pests and diseases and inadequately trained farmers.
“This growing environment poses a daily issue for farmers and a significant supply risk to the industry.”
“While land-based expansion is not feasible, more environmentally desirable practices for existing cocoa farms are required to address the looming supply crisis,” said Blommer.
Blommer’s statement comes soon after academic David Guest from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney warned that chocolate manufacturers would face a serious cocoa supply shortage unless they worked to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers.
Training can increase yields 30%
Blommer plans to invest $45m in its Sustainable Origins programme to train an additional 50,000 cocoa farmers to increase yields, doubling its current farmer base to 100,000.
"We see that with proper farmer training, improvements in soil fertility and the introduction of stronger genetic material, farmers can increase their yields by more than 30%" said Kip Walk, corporate director, Cocoa and Sustainability for Blommer.
Blommer’s commitment comes as a number of major chocolate producers, including Mars and Ferrero, have pledged to source 100% of their cocoa from certified sustainable cocoa farms by 2020.