30,000+ farmers benefit from GrowCocoaNovember 2013
GrowCocoa, the independent joint venture representing the sustainability interests of Blommer Chocolate Company and Olam International, says that 31,600 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia have now been trained in Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Pest Management since the JV was formalised last year.
As North America’s largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier, Blommer first collaborated with Olam International, the leading global agri-business supplier, in Indonesia in 2004. With the aim of improving quality and livelihoods the two companies established the SAFOB (Sulawesi Alliance of Farmer Olam & Blommer) programme. From 2,000 farmers, the network has now grown to over 15,100.
The programme’s success resulted in recognition from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the appointment as the cocoa-implementing partners for the Agribusiness Market & Support Activity. Between 2006 and 2011, independently verified data showed that many farmers’ yields doubled as they gained access to exporters with the establishment of 11 Blommer/Olam buying centres.
During this period, the partnership expanded to Côte d’Ivoire with the start of the CIFOB (Côte d’Ivoire Farmers Olam & Blommer) programme. Starting with just 6 cooperatives and 2,400 farmers, the network has increased to 87 cooperatives and over 26,800 farmers in seven years.
Now centralised under GrowCocoa, the 2012-2013 season has also achieved the training of 329 cooperative managers in efficient budgeting and cost control systems and distributed 564,000 seedlings.
Commenting on the results, the JV’s programme director, Kevin Wilkins said: “By bringing together the combined skills, investment and commitment of Blommer and Olam through GrowCocoa these results demonstrate how we have been able to improve cocoa yields and quality, as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and their communities.”
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