Cargill has announced it has renewed its partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), allowing the organizations to introduce new initiatives to strengthen cocoa producing cooperatives and their communities, including Cargill’s Coop Academy 2.0.
The renewed agreement will add 40 additional cooperatives to the academy, bringing the total to 120 cooperatives reached through training and tools to improve their cocoa business, improve sustainability and increase profitability.
First of its kind
Cargill’s Coop Academy, established in 2013, was the first of its kind in the cocoa sector. The organization said the model provides cooperative leaders with the management skills to improve daily operations of their organizations, leading to a more professional, efficient and successful business.
In 2014, Cargill partnered with IFC and others to scale the program to reach over 350 cooperative leaders.
Lionel Soulard, managing director of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate in West Africa, said: “The cooperative model has proven to be an exceptional method to bring cocoa farmers and their communities lasting benefits. By gaining invaluable skills and tools to professionalize their business, we see them independently driving impactful sustainability projects that bring meaningful change to their communities and the cocoa sector at large.”
The renewed partnership, supported by the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), will introduce an improved Coop Academy 2.0 program, Cargill claimed.
An additional 40 cooperatives will have access to training in capacity building, management and governance, adding to the 80 cooperatives already enrolled in the program, said Cargill. The Coop Academy 2.0 will also feature updated training with a stronger focus on digitalization and traceability, based on learnings from the first phase, to provide cooperatives stronger data and analytics to inform critical business decisions.
“The digital program will provide 35,250 farmers with access to a digital payments platform, enabling utilization and access to digital financial services,” Soulard said.
Cargill’s measurement and benchmarking will use a tool developed by IFC and SCOPEInsight, an independent agricultural assessment agency, that will measure the impact and increase business opportunities for over 125,000 farmers.
“It will benchmark activities such as operations, sustainability, financial and internal management, with the purpose of assessing how increased leadership capacity results in improved management of the cooperatives. Cargill is using digital technologies like these to strengthen the transparency of its own cocoa supply chain,” Soulard said.