Details of how the sustainable cocoa farming model will be built were not disclosed, but the initial impact of the partnership will be revealed to the public in six months.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said combining the expertise and resources on the ground of both the COCOBOD and Barry Callebaut “will lead to more impactful interventions and accelerate the progress towards a sustainable cocoa farming sector” in the west African nation.
‘There is no priority…’
Barry Callebaut said its collaboration with the Ghanaian government would mainly focus on “the clearing and replanting of cocoa trees infected with the swollen-shoot virus (CSSV) disease,” as well as “agroforestry, more specifically income diversification for cocoa farmers and the planting of shade trees.”
The two organizations will also work together on making cocoa cultivation more attractive to women and young cocoa farmers, and eradicate the worst forms of child labor through community-led engagement, added Barry Callebaut.
Christiaan Prins, head of Barry Callebaut’s external affairs, said, “there is no priority [among these collaboration focuses].
“These are all areas we need to work on at the same time. You can’t touch on one element without touching on the other,” he said. “When we talk about deforestation for example, we also need to talk about how to increase cocoa farmers’ income… We know low income has a direct impact on cocoa farmers because it makes them look for new lands [for plantations].”
Prins added that COCOBOD will also help Barry Callebaut’s sustainability program, Forever Chocolate, achieve its 100% sustainable chocolate target by 2025.
Barry Callebaut has been working with the Ghanaian government for years on cocoa sustainability-related issues, according to Prins.
He said COCOBOD previously signed a similar letter of intent with Nyonkopa, a domestic licensed buying company Barry Callebaut acquired in 2015.
“But this time, there is a clear desire for both sides to come forward to have a more systematic and methodological approach to designing an ultimate sustainable farming strategy,” added Prins.