Signing our new partnership with Barry Callebaut!
I’m proud to announce that Cocoa Life is expanding the number of farmers we service in
Côte d’Ivoire by adding new partnerships with Barry Callebaut and Solidaridad.
Barry Callebaut, a major cocoa supplier to Mondelēz International, has developed and implemented sustainability programs with a focus on improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.
Solidaridad founded the Max Havelaar Foundation and launched the first Fair Trade label for sustainable coffee. The successful launch of Fair Trade coffee within the Netherlands helped spark the global Fair Trade movement.
Today Solidaridad is an international organization which focuses on improving the lives of producers and their communities in various supply chains, including cocoa, by providing innovative solutions to improve productivity in a sustainable and inclusive way.
Together Barry Callebaut and Solidaridad will work with Cocoa Life in all five focus areas of our program. Both organizations have submitted to us proposals that describe in full detail the activities they are engaging in and are committing to implement over three years. Barry Callebaut will be responsible for farming, which means they will implement the productivity package of services that we provide to farmers. This includes training, access to fertilizer, pest and disease management, and planting materials.
Solidaridad is responsible for implementing the other four focus areas of the Cocoa Life program: community development, livelihoods, youth, and the environment. Solidaridad will work in collaboration with community leaders, community associations, youth representatives, and farmer organizations to design community action plans and the resulting interventions.
Since Barry Callebaut and Solidaridad work together in the same communities in the same region and target the same population, they are working together and coordinating their efforts on the ground.
The new partnership will enable us to expand Cocoa Life in Côte d’Ivoire, and together with other partners, reach a total of 26,000 Ivorian cocoa farmers by 2016.
The work with Barry Callebaut and Solidaridad adds to the existing partnerships with Ecom, Cargill and CARE International.
I am keen to extend to this partnership the success we’ve made in developing and extending to women access to financial resources through the Village Savings and Loan Associations. This initiative has not only helped develop practical financial literacy among women but also substantially increased the lending capacity of the women’s groups to their members. Over the past six months, I’ve had women in cocoa communities tell me how their overall household income (in addition to cocoa income) has increased; how they now have the money to invest in their children’s schooling; how they’ve been able to diversify their income sources through various economic activities.
“Solidaridad’s mission is to bring together supply chain actors and engage with innovative solutions to improve production, ensuring the transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy that maximizes benefit for all," says Mr. Ahmadou Cisse, Solidaridad Country Representative, Côte d’Ivoire. “Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life program wants to do the same thing with cocoa farming communities, so this is a perfect fit.”
Anke Massart, General Manager of cocoa sustainability for Barry Callebaut, feels the same way: “Barry Callebaut has been committed to sustainable agriculture and farm productivity in West Africa for many years now, and this partnership with Cocoa Life is a huge opportunity for us to continue and expand on that work.”
We believe that by partnering with two complementary organizations, combining both commercial and social responses to the needs of farmers and their communities, we will make significant progress toward achieving our objectives of creating thriving cocoa communities while ensuring sustainable cocoa production.