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Fairtrade Foundation receives UK government grants to help cocoa farmers with COVID-19 relief

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

A Fairtrade Foundation cocoa farmer in Ghana drying her cocoa beans. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation
A Fairtrade Foundation cocoa farmer in Ghana drying her cocoa beans. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation

Related tags: Fairtrade foundation, Mondelez International, Cocoa, coronavirus

The Fairtrade Foundation has announced it has secured major UK government funding and backing from Mondelēz International to support cocoa producers in West Africa hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of International Development (DFID), which merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on September 2 to become the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), awarded the Fairtrade Foundation two grants worth £800,00 to support agricultural producers and garment workers in developing countries to help build longer-term resilience in their core supply chains.

Before the government merger, DFID - in partnership with the Department of International Trade - set up a £6.85m Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility (VSCF). A total of £2m of the match funding included in the VSCF was contributed by UK and international business.

Mondelēz International contributed £640,000 for cocoa producers, while Co-op, M&S and Tesco offered £25,000 each (£75,000 in total) for flower producers.

This is a noteworthy, welcome contribution and one that highlights our partners’ commitment to helping farmers and workers hardest hit by the devastating impacts of COVID-19 -- Louisa Cox, Director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation

The VSCF aims to help roughly a million people by ensuring vulnerable workers and suppliers overseas – and their families – are prepared for the economic and social shocks of COVID-19, and to help keep popular products like chocolate and flowers on high street shelves in the UK.

Using this funding, the Fairtrade Foundation said it will work closely with its business partners to support some of the most vulnerable flower and cocoa producers in Kenya and Ghana, partnering with MM Flowers, Mondelēz International, Co-op, M&S, Tesco, Coventry University, FNET, Women Working Worldwide and Partner Africa.

Louisa Cox, Director of Impact at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: "We are excited that the Fairtrade Foundation has been awarded two out of the eight grants available: these will go a long way to helping some of those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who supply us with some of our favourite products. This demonstrates the strength of our projects and partnerships, and our innovative approach that involves working hand-in-hand with businesses to ensure resilient supply chains.

"It is significant that our commercial partners Mondelēz International, Co-op, M&S and Tesco have donated over £700,000 of the £2m matched funds given by businesses for the VSCF. This is a noteworthy, welcome contribution and one that highlights our partners’ commitment to helping farmers and workers hardest hit by the devastating impacts of COVID-19. We are encouraged by the UK governments’ approach to work closely with businesses and leverage private sector investment to solve these global issues.

Cocoa collaboration

Partnering with Mondelēz International, the Fairtrade Foundation said it will implement the Cadbury Farmer Resilience Fund to support cocoa producers in Ghana and help them build resilience to the impacts of the pandemic.

Cathy Pieters, director of Cocoa Life at Mondelēz International, said: “With Cocoa Life, we invest in building a more resilient cocoa supply chain. Cocoa is the essence of our chocolate and vital to our business which is why, with our partners such as the Fairtrade Foundation, we work hand-in-hand with the men and women who make their living from cocoa, focusing on where we can make a lasting difference: turning cocoa into a business of choice, creating inclusive and empowered communities and educating on forest conservation and restoration.

The pandemic has impacted the already vulnerable cocoa farming families and we are grateful that, as part of our partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, we have been granted access to the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility established by DFID as this allows us to help Ghanaian cocoa farmers diversify their sources of income and increase their resilience​.”

The joint Fairtrade Foundation/Mondelēz International project will see cocoa unions able to apply for funding, via a flexible grant facility, so they can diversify their income, and secure their produce through the next harvest.

This will include start-up capital to invest in food security and income diversification, as well as ensuring climate resilience for cocoa communities and strengthening the governance of cocoa unions.

Elsewhere, the Fairtrade Foundation said farmers will be supported to grow climate smart crops, to help them adapt to the changing weather patterns.

CORRECTION 18/9/20.

The article was amended in the second paragraph, from: ‘DFID… awarded Fairtrade two grants worth £2m…​’ The Fairtrade Foundation has clarified that it received £800,000 rather than £2m. 

  • In the third paragraph we reported: ‘A total of £2m of the match funding for the Fairtrade Foundation included in the VSCF was contributed by UK business.’
  • The Fairtrade Foundation has clarified that the £2m match funding was not for it specifically, and it should have read ‘A total of £2m of the match funding included in the VSCF was contributed by UK and international business.’

We apologise for any confusion.

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