Zurich — Barry Callebaut AG has reached 110,000 farmers across Africa with its Cocoa Horizons farmer training and sustainability program, according to the company’s annual sustainability report.
In the document Callebaut identified three challenges: The need for farmer training in good agricultural practices to improve crop yield and grower income; lack of adequate plant materials, fertilizers and pesticides; and insufficient farmer access to funds to invest in pesticides and yield-enhancing practices.
To improve farmer training, the company has developed a “cascade” approach to reach even the most remote farms. For example, in Ivory Coast Callebaut opened its Cocoa Center of Excellence, which trained some 300 managers of cocoa cooperatives during its first year of operation. In turn, those trained farmers shared their knowledge at two additional Callebaut farmer academies, then 12 model farms and finally 575 field schools across the country, the company reports.
In addition to educating farmers on improving yields, Callebaut also addressed basic health needs of farmers in remote growing regions. For example, The company works with communities and partner cooperatives to provide access to potable water.
In addition, the Callebaut’s sustainability program provides primary education for children of farm workers.
Juergen Steinemann, CEO, says: “With a growing global demand for chocolate, a sustainable cocoa supply chain is vital for long-term business growth. In order to ensure sufficient cocoa production for years to come, we have embedded sustainability into our corporate strategy.”
Caption: Juergen Steinemann, Barry Callebaut AG CEO, meets with a Ivory Coast cocoa farmer cooperative during a trip earlier this year.