IDH, the sustainable trade initiative, recently held the kick-off meeting for its ‘Green Cocoa Landscape’ programme in Cameroon, which aims to help farmers there make use of good agronomic practices based on the latest scientific insights.
Participants from the government of Cameroon, industry and civil society attended the meeting in order to discuss challenges facing cocoa farmers in the country. At the meeting, leading chocolate and cocoa companies such as Barry Callebaut, Cargill and Olam affirmed a commitment to invest in cocoa from Cameroon, help reduce deforestation and improve quality and flavour profiles.
IDH said it believes that the Cameroonian cocoa sector can occupy a distinct place in the international market if quality is improved and if it can demonstrate that increased production doesn’t result in deforestation. It also believes that, if Cameroonian farmers adopt better growing and processing practices that they can access the market for premium cocoa and obtain better prices.
“Collaboration among industry partners and with the public sector will be needed to ensure success at scale and transform the market,” IDH said. “Farmers will continue to be of key importance. When supported by government policies and investments from industry, farmers and co-operatives can professionalise without encroaching on new land.”
The Green Cocoa Landscape Programme is designed around the pillars of ‘Production, Protection and Inclusion (PPI)’ and will link closely with the Cocoa Soils programme to address gaps in farmers’ understanding of plant nutrition and physiology and provide them with training to take advantage of farmers with developments in agronomy.
The next steps in the Green Cocoa Landscape Programme include completion of a scoping phase (due to be completed by December 2018), the launch of a full proposal and establishment of the consortium for the implementation of the project (January-June 2019); and a period of fundraising (due to be completed in June 2019). The implementation phase is set for 2019-2021.