Mars adopts digital and satellite tech for cocoa farmers in Ghana
The technology, which received its initial funding from the Geodata for Agricultural and Water (G4AW) program of the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), was designed upon a specialized agronomic model for cocoa that includes digital certification performance information.
Rainforest Alliance, one of the SAT4Farming’s partners, said: “Smallholder farmers produce the vast majority of the world’s cocoa.
“Cocoa farmers face declining yields, mounting threats from pests and disease, and persistent poverty… [and they] rarely get the timely training and advice they need to change their circumstances.”
The sustainability company noted other partners helping develop the technology include global cocoa trader Touton, the University of Ghana’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, and the Netherlands-based Satelligence and WaterWatch Projects.
How does SAT4Farming work?
In Ghana, “the integration of satellite imagery is expected to streamline the process of creating an FDP, facilitating monitoring, and provide greater insights into dynamic environmental conditions,” said Rainforest Alliance.
Through SAT4Farming, cocoa farmers will also receive advice on farm practices and investments, climate-adaptation, and certification training, over their mobile devices.
According to Rainforest Alliance, Mars suppliers across a number of countries are adopting similar approaches to support a more sustainable cocoa sector.
It added G4AW plans to launch a social enterprise that will make SAT4Farming services widely available and ensure “the economic sustainability of the work.”