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Training and technology are key ways to address the many challenges facing the cocoa industry. Taco Terheijden, Director Cocoa Sustainability, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, outlines some of the initiatives the company has instigated

Improving farmer livelihoods and working to ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa now and for the future are vital concerns for Cargill and the cocoa sector as a whole.

That’s why we’ve set five goals for 2030, to increase cocoa sustainability in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Farmer Livelihoods; Community Wellbeing (including the elimination of child labour); Protecting Our Planet (elimination of deforestation); Consumer Confidence (traceability and sourcing); and Transformation Together (the power of partnerships).

So how are we working to make this happen? For over a decade, more than 145,000 farmers in five countries, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Indonesia and Brazil, have been trained in good agricultural practices (GAPs).

Individual coaching

This includes planting better quality, more resilient seedlings and making better use of fertilisers and other crop protection products. Through this training farmers also benefit from information on topics that include child protection, gender sensitisation, and environmental sustainability.

As effective as our farmer training programmes have been, we are now looking more at individual farmer coaching to better ensure the adoption of practices through customized, on-site training. We began piloting this approach in Côte d’Ivoire in 2016 and, in conjunction with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), have now trained more than 1,200 farmers to deliver one-on-one farmer training.

These coaches visit the farmer and undertake a detailed assessment to help create a Farm Development Plan. The farm is visited annually to check progress on delivering the plan, and the outcomes being achieved. This scheme is also operating in Cameroon, with Ghana and Indonesia next in line. An example of the success of this coaching is Côte d’Ivoire, where the average yield increases in the first year for farmers adopting the actions in their Farm Development Plans is 49 per cent.

To provide tailored advice to farmers in the coaching sessions, we are using GPS technology to map farm size accurately. This technology sits within the tabletbased software we use to collect a host of information from farmers and farming communities.

Mapping farms and farmers

We have mapped more than 70,000 farms in Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia and Cameroon. This has provided valuable information on yields and farming methods, which we use to inform farm development plans to improve productivity, while also mitigating deforestation. We also work with the World Resources Institute to conduct risk assessments based on this information.

Tackling child labour

In addition to economic training – improving the livelihoods of farmers and their families – one of the persistent issues we are determined to tackle is that of child labour. Training to eradicate child labour is a key first step of our community wellbeing goal, and Cargill is working towards identifying, preventing, and removing child labour from our supply chain by 2025.

In West Africa we have dedicated teams in place to implement our child labour policies. We provide awareness training to our teams, as well as farmers, children, farmer organizations, suppliers and other community members in cocoa growing communities.

Through our farmer training programmes, farmers receive training to prevent child labour. Furthermore, the launch of our Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in coops throughout our supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, will help move towards systemic change.

Working with the International Cocoa Initiative, CLMRS will help us identify where children are working on farms, and then stop existing child labour and remediate specific cases.

In 2017, more than 21,000 members of farm families including 5,400 farmers and nearly 8,400 children were reached with information about child labour prevention and monitoring services. In 2018, an additional 25,000 members of farming families were reached, and the programme is expanding further in 2019 and beyond.

Child labour is a complex problem, as are its solutions. Our approach includes training farmers and others to prevent child labour and supply chain monitoring and remediation. This can be as simple as providing children with birth certificates or school kits to ensure their basic educational needs are met, as well as community development programmes which work to address the root causes of child labour by ensuring that communities have access to health and education services, economic opportunities for women, and more.■ C&CI

Fairtrade Africa rolls out next phase of climate adaptation project

Fairtrade Africa has rolled out Phase 3 of its Climate Academy Project, which aims to increase the resilience of small coffee producer organisations.

The project uses training and the subsequent application of insights, skills and techniques designed to help farmers adapt to climate change. Phase 3 is being implemented in Ethiopia, to help coffee farmers there.

The Climate Academy Project is a Dutch Lottery-funded project with funding of €1.1 million. The first two phases are being implemented in Kenya, targeting small producer organisations in Machakos, Kericho and Nandi counties.

The Ethiopian project is being implemented in collaboration with Fairtrade International, Max Havelaar Foundation in the Netherlands, Food Cabinet and the International Institute of Coffee Research.

The project aims to foster organisational development, environmental and financial sustainability, and greater autonomy, and provide a strong foundation for farmers to begin implementing climate change adaptation measures.

“Climate change is significantly affecting coffee farmers in Ethiopia,” said Fairtrade Africa. “Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns are reducing yields and quality and increasing problems with pests and diseases. ■ C&CI

This article first appeared in the September’18 issue of C&CI, click on subscribe now if you wish to read other informative articles in the September and future issues of C&CI.

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