Fairtrade Foundation confirms speaker for World Confectionery Conference

Surmaya Talyarkhan will be joining the 2023 edition of the World Confectionery Conference, representing the Fairtrade Foundation. Pic: Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation has confirmed Surmaya Talyarkhan, senior sustainable sourcing manager for cocoa, as its speaker for our World Confectionery Conference taking place this autumn in the UK, writes Neill Barston.

The socially and environmentally-driven movement has previously played its part in our event in Brussels last year, highlighting its work with key agricultural communities working within the sector, aiming to help drive towards delivering a living wage and provide added support for families and individuals.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, Fairtrade has highlighted the fact that the pandemic of the past few years, along with the present global cost of living crisis, has had a profound impact on West Africa in particular. This has been backed-up by a fresh report from Oxfam last week, which highlighted the fact that in Ghana, which along with Ivory Coast accounts for two thirds of the cocoa trade, farmers in the sector are 16% worse off since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s edition of the World Confectionery Conference is taking place on 5 October at the Harrogate Convention Centre, Yorkshire, with Caobisco European confectionery trade association, Cargill, Ferrero, and FMCG Gurus research group among the many organisations and leading businesses participating. The event also features an optional second day on 6 October, in York, offering the chance to experience chocolate making and learn more about the region’s confectionery heritage, courtesy of independent chocolate business, York Cocoa House.

Our latest speaker Surmaya has gained extensive experience within the sector, and will add to previous presentations in discussing its campaigns within the cocoa trade, which aim to ensure the future viability of the sector, as farmers face a renewed range of issues, including extremely low pay, tough crop conditions, as well as significant increases in fertiliser costs affecting major crop yields.

As Fairtrade noted, from Surmaya’s time with the organisation, she brings experience of working across cocoa, bananas and sugar, has visited farmers in various origins and built and a good understanding of the role of certifications in addressing supply chain challenges.

She sees collaboration between businesses, farmers, government, consumers, civil society and certifications as pivotal in achieving change for cocoa growing communities. She joined Fairtrade from the British Council’s Strategy team where she was responsible for the Corporate Scorecard, holds a Masters in Management from Cranfield University and has published papers on access to technology for development.

  •  Register for this year’s World Confectionery Conference, which takes place on 5-6 October 2023, at our dedicated website at www.confectioneryconference.com

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