Cargill’s sustainability programs are improving farmer livelihoods

Global cocoa giant, Cargill, has reiterated its commitment to a transparent and sustainable cocoa sector which improves the lives of farmers and their communities in the five origin countries where it directly sources cocoa; Ghana, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Indonesia.

The highlights of the latest efforts and progress made on this commitment are captured in a Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate 2018-2019 Sustainability Progress report released by the company this week.

“This sustainability progress report highlights how Cargill uses technology to connect every dot in the cocoa supply chain. Maximum transparency in the cocoa sector is critical for making real progress on sustainability.

“It not only helps cocoa farmers, their families and communities prosper, but also helps protect our planet. I am confident that working with our partners we can continue to make great strides in achieving a thriving cocoa sector,” said Harold Poelma, President of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.

Through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company’s sustainability program, opportunities offered by technologies, such as mobile money, GPS mapping and digital data collection, are being used to promote greater transparency on how cocoa is grown and sourced from farmers.

Measures are being taken to protect the planet under this sustainability approach

A statement released by the company highlights key milestones from this 2018-2019 report;

“• With the use of barcoded cocoa bags and digital Cooperative Management Systems (CMS), 50 percent of sustainable cocoa beans in the global direct supply chain are now traceable from farm-to-factory. In 2018-2019, 151,190 metric tons of cocoa beans were tracked. The CMS enables farmers organizations to manage loans, collect beans and check fixed versus variable costs.

Also, starting in 2018- 2019, all farmer organizations in the direct sourcing network in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are now visible through an interactive Cargill Cocoa Promise Sourcing Partner Network map.. Each of these farmer organizations benefit from Cargill Cocoa Promise programs.

• Implementation of child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) to address child labour has significantly increased. In addition to Côte d’Ivoire, Cargill also deploys CLMRS now in Ghana and Cameroon, reaching a total of 58,800 farmers in 2018-2019.

This extends the reach from 7 per cent to 29 per cent of the total number of farms in the direct supply chain. In 2018-2019, Cargill also conducted a needs assessment for programs to address child labour in cocoa-growing communities in Indonesia; a localized approach to CLRMS will follow in 2020.

• GPS polygon mapping of 72 per cent of all farmers in the direct supply chain, representing over 400,000 hectares of farmland, was completed. Cargill is well on its way to identify where the cocoa comes from, which areas may be at risk of deforestation and how to mitigate this risk through specific interventions.” The statement said.

The company says digital tools being provided to farmers are not only helping them improve farming practices and get market insights but has also become a means to communicate with these farmers in crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Through Cargill’s digital tools, government’s safety and sanitation messages are being amplified to help curb the spread of the virus in farming communities.

With the evolution of technology, Cargill sees digitization driving change across the entire cocoa sector and has made this one of its key strategies in its journey towards a more sustainable sector.

An extensive data platform with more than 300 data points along its supply chain has been developed to collect data that can be used to inform customers through an interactive customer portal on how collaborative sustainability programs are benefiting farmers and their communities.