Mondelēz International has announced the expansion of its global cocoa sustainability initiative, Cocoa Life, in Brazil.
The announcement was made at the World Cocoa Foundation’s Partnership Meeting on Wednesday (October 24) in Sao Paulo.
Mondelēz International has been supporting cocoa production in Brazil since 2014 and says it will build on this work, and on the learnings from other origins, to fully deploy its Cocoa Life program, which aims to create empowered and thriving cocoa farming communities, by helping farmers to become more profitable and sustainable while safeguarding the future of chocolate.
Empower cocoa farmers
Areas of Brazil that will benefit most from Mondelēz’s Cocoa Life will be Pará, where the company will invest around $200,000 per year over the next three years to empower cocoa farmers and to nurture thriving and independent cocoa communities.
The important cocoa growing region of Bahia, where farmers face a myriad of challenges related to crop management, will also benefit from the program.
Mondelēz says Cocoa Life will provide guidance on the latest techniques in farm rejuvenation and good agricultural practices to improve yields and the quality of the cocoa produced as well as to mitigate environmental impact.
Supported by Brazil chocolate brand Lacta, the initiative will reach at least 1,500 farmers and families in the long term. The company will also launch its Health in Action program to promote healthy nutrition and active play to 6,000 children in Cocoa Life communities.
Mondelēz says the cocoa beans produced with Cocoa Life support will be part of Mondelēz International supply chain network for its Lacta chocolate portfolio.
The company reports that the initiative is already making progress in five key cocoa origin countries: Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, India and Dominican Republic.
“We are thrilled about adding Brazil to our Cocoa Life initiative. Brazil is not only a cocoa-growing country but it’s also an important chocolate manufacturing hub, home to one of our local heritage brands, Lacta, one of the country's favorites and top-selling chocolate brand," says Christine Montenegro McGrath, chief of sustainability & wellbeing.
“Cocoa Life has already made a significant impact in West African cocoa farming communities and we expect it will do the same in Brazil. In addition, the program will also look at contributing to the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and to the community development,” she says.
In partnership with Forest Cocoa, Mondelēz International has set clear targets for the next three years such as:
- Impact at least 500 farmers,
- Deploy six demonstration plots to share good agricultural practices, promote ecological soil management and good post-harvest practices,
- Transform 1,000 hectares of pasture land into cocoa agroforestry,
- Re-shape 750 hectares of existing cocoa farms with new agro-ecological soil management,
- Restore 500 hectares of riparian forest and protect watersheds.
“The Pará region, which had one of the highest rates of deforestation in Brazil, has the potential to become an example of sustainable development and restoration in the Amazon Rainforest," says Rodrigo Freire, vice coordinator of restoration for The Nature Conservancy in Brazil.
“Over the past five years, we have supported the planting of 450 hectares of cocoa agroforestry-system in the Amazon, benefitting over 120 families in the São Félix do Xingu and Tucumã municipalities in southeastern Pará. Our goal is to reach 1,000 families in the next five years."