Cargill marks a decade of its key sustainability scheme at the Indonesian International Cocoa Conference

Cargill has marked a decade of its Cocoa Promise initiative supporting agricultural communities, reaffirming its commitment to supporting core supply chains at this year’s Indonesian International Cocoa Conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, reports Neill Barston.

As the business noted, the milestone reflected its belief in fostering collaboration across the sector, working with major stakeholders within the region, and across other significant areas including Ghana and Ivory Coast, with the two West African nations still accounting for nearly two thirds of the market.

The company’s ten years of its Cocoa Promise are due to come under the microscope as it plays a prominent role in our World Confectionery Conference on 5 October, for which there is still time to register and play your part in one of the key industry events of the year.

While considerable challenges remain for cocoa farmers both regionally and internationally, Cargill stated it is continuing a core policy of championing responsible sourcing, backed by training and support for farmers in a bid to move towards a living income. As the company recently asserted in an interview with Confectionery Production, it believed that genuine progress had been made with its operations across the past decade, though it acknowledged there was some way still to go in tackling the combined challenges of deforestation, child labour and income levels affecting the sector as a whole.

Francesca Kleemans, Managing Director, Food Solutions Southeast Asia, Cargill, welcomed the progress that had been made within Indonesia. She said: “Cargill Cocoa Promise’s 10th anniversary is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential for positive change when industry players come together with a shared purpose. We are proud to have played a role in helping to make cocoa more sustainable over the past decade in Indonesia. As we celebrate this milestone, we want to reiterate that Cargill is committed to continuing our work with our partners to build a more sustainable cocoa supply chain for generations to come.”

As the company noted, Indonesia stands as the largest producer of cocoa beans in the Asia. Makassar, located on the island of Sulawesi, is Indonesia’s key cocoa logistical centre and home to the Cargill cocoa business established in 1995.

The firm produces and provides an extensive selection of premium cocoa and chocolate ingredients, including cocoa powder, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, chocolates, and compound coatings. Through collaborations with partners and sustainable practices in cocoa farming, it champions professional cocoa farming practices to strengthen the socio-economic resilience of cocoa farmers and their communities and at the same time promote environmental best practices.

“Over the past 10 years, through collaborations with our partners, we have helped cocoa farmers to improve their yields, incomes, and living standards. We have reached approximately 25,000 farmers in Indonesia with training and coaching to build their capacity for good agricultural practice. Also, we have made progress in reducing the risk of deforestation with our cutting-edge technology by enabling digital traceability system for farmers to access cocoa transparency and traceability,” added Talitha Wibisono, Country Sustainability Lead, Indonesia, Cargill.

Under the Cargill Cocoa Promise program, farmers receive training and one-on-one coaching programs in good agricultural and environmental practices, and get support in becoming enterpreneur in agribusiness from running sustainable cocoa farming and cocoa nurseries, as well as ensuring they have better access as well as ensuring they have better access to agricultural inputs and sustainable market.

Aris, one of the farmers under the program has experienced first-hand its benefits. “I am incredibly grateful for the capacity-building programs that have transformed my life as a farmer. These programs have equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to practice sustainable farming and protect our environment. My family’s livelihood has improved, and we are now living a more prosperous and sustainable life. I encourage other farmers to take advantage of such programs and embrace modern and eco-friendly farming practices for the betterment of their lives and the environment,” said Muh. Aris, a registered farmer under Cargill Cocoa Promise program.

Meanwhile, to address the issue of child labour in cocoa farming, Cargill collaborates with Save The Children and has created a program to implement a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) based on the Community-Based Child Protection Committees model . Through this program, Cargill and Save The Children have been doing a robust monitoring and remediation approach that is designed to protect children and promote their rights, to over 9,000 farmer households. The collaboration in CLMRS received an award from the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection.

Furthermore, over the past decade, the Cocoa Promise scheme has helped train and coach more than 25,000 farmers in farming and environmental practices, digitally mapped 100% of cocoa farms under our sustainability programme, as well as monitored over 9,000 farming households in Indonesia through its Child Labor Monitoring & Remediation Systems, designed to deliver greater levels of transparency. Presently, 30% of the company’s beans are sourced sustainably, which it is seeking to increase.

Cargill sources, grades and processes high-quality cocoa beans from all over the world into cocoa and chocolate ingredients for our customers throughout Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe and U.S.A. Looking ahead, the company concluded that it will remain dedicated to furthering its mission of sustainability, responsibility, and innovation within the cocoa industry through its Cocoa Promise initiatives such as training, coaching, GPS mapping, and a transparent supply chain through digital technology.

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