Rainforest Alliance holds strong for cocoa farmers hit by the pandemic

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The Rainforest Alliance was able offer assistance to cocoa farmers from different countries. Pic: Cargill
The Rainforest Alliance was able offer assistance to cocoa farmers from different countries. Pic: Cargill

Related tags Rainforest alliance Cocoa

Its latest report highlights the new 2020 Rainforest Alliance certification programme (which has replaced former Rainforest Alliance and UTZ programmes since July 2021), the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has worked to transform the cocoa sector to drive more sustainable cocoa farming.

The Rainforest Alliance has partnered with Twin, Divine Chocolate, and Imaflora  as part of its cocoa-specific programme to strengthen smallholder farmer groups across Brazil, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

This four-year partnership created market opportunities for more than 4,000 smallholders in four countries by connecting them with big traders and manufacturers with the resources to invest in more sustainable production at scale​,” the Alliance said, in its latest 2020 Annual Report.

Consumers purchased the equivalent of 320 million cups of Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee and 80 million Rainforest Alliance-certified chocolate bars last year, and the group, which merged with UTZ in 2017, now works with 2.3 million certified farmers around the world, as well as 5,000 company partners.

In addition, there are now more than 6.8 million hectares of Rainforest Alliance or UTZ-certified farmland in 70 countries around the world, as well as 68 projects that are bringing direct benefits to farmers, forest communities and nature.

Human kindness

In what it describes as a “deeply painful year​—one of separation, loss, and tremendous financial hardship for people all around the world​,” because of the pandemic, the Alliance said it found strong evidence among its partners and communities of untold generosity, human kindness, accelerated innovation, and far reaching collaboration.

These are the qualities and conviction we need to take on the daunting global challenges before us, from pandemics to rural poverty and the climate crisis​.”

The effects of the pandemic meant that farmers couldn’t travel to market to sell their crops, cooperatives couldn’t export goods internationally and crop prices plummeted amid global instability.

The Alliance aid its members showed widespread generosity despite financial hardship and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

We raised $36,000 from our supporters and we contributed another $44,000  —enabling us to distribute $80,000 in logistical support and relief grants to longstanding partner communities across Latin America, Africa, and Asia​.”

The Rainforest Alliance said it was able offer assistance to cocoa farmers from different countries with companies buying enough Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified cocoa every day to make more than 80 million bars of chocolate.

“When placed one after the other, this adds up to almost twice the length of the Amazon River it said in the report.

In his introduction Santiago Gowland, the Rainforest Alliance’s new chief executive said: "My own guiding ethos is that as human beings we all share a simple principle: We care about what’s good for us, our communities, and the natural world that we all depend on. That’s why the Rainforest Alliance’s mission resonates so deeply for me​.”

  • For more highlights and impact figures from the Rainforest Alliance’s key projects in the field in the past 12 months read the report in full here​.

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