Fairtrade greets Nestlé move for cocoa farmer income accelerator

Smallholder farmers in West Africa should be part of the climate solutions, says Fairtrade (pic, Ben Rotthoff, Koa)

The Fairtrade Foundation has signalled that Nestlé’s move for financial support to farmers in cocoa growing communities through an ‘Income Accelerator,’ initiative offers a positive step forward, writes Neill Barston.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, the Swiss-headquartered firm is delivering cash incentive amounting to CHF 500 a year in the initial two years of the scheme, will be paid directly to farming households for activities including ensuring children are enrolled at school, as well as improving agricultural practices.

According to Fairtrade, this represents a first positive step from one of the world’s largest buyers of cocoa on the path towards facilitating a sustainable living for cocoa farmers.

The movement added that it see the development from Nestlé as one that vindicates years of campaigning for major global cocoa companies to do more for the farmers in their supply chains on whom they rely to grow cocoa beans, as data shows that any decision to directly increase the money paid to farming communities will significantly improve their livelihoods and their wellbeing.

Fairtrade said: “For years, we have advocated for better incomes through its Minimum Price and Premium, adopted by partners and supported by its many networks of grassroots campaigners, and so even as we welcome this announcement, we urge Nestle to go further by joining Fairtrade and like- minded partners such as Tony’s Chocolonely and Ben & Jerry’s in committing to paying higher prices for their cocoa, which in turn will accelerate farmers even faster towards a Living income.

Fundamentally cocoa farmers need to be sure that their buyers will commit to purchasing increased volumes of cocoa at a price that enables a living income, matching or ideally exceeding Fairtrade terms.”

As it added, this income should come with no strings attached and reflect the true value of cocoa production by allowing farmers to use their earnings to tackle the problems they face every day, now and in the future. Paying living incomes must be a goal for the cocoa sector, and only then can we achieve an industry that is sustainable, equitable and fair, with decent livelihoods for farmers the standard and child labour consigned to the past.

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