Submitted by: Cargill
Posted: May 10, 2010 – 09:23 AM EST
WORMER, Netherlands, May 10 /CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire/ - Cargill's Cocoa & Chocolate business has handed over the first UTZ CERTIFIED premiums to two farmer cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire. The two farmer cooperatives - Co-operative Agricole de Fiedifoue and Coopaga - received over U.S. $400,000 (200,000,000 CFA) for deliveries of UTZ CERTIFIED sustainable cocoa beans since the beginning of October 2009.
The premiums will be shared amongst the cooperatives and their members totalling almost 1,600 farmers. More than half of the overall amount is going directly to farmers according to their individual deliveries since the beginning of October. For maximum transparency farmers are able to consult the list of the deliveries they made and check against the related amount that is payable to them. The remainder of the money is retained by the farmer cooperatives to strengthen their operations, help improve their organisation and provide support to all of their farmer members.
"We are delighted to be able to hand over these premiums to the farmer cooperatives," said Harold Poelma, managing director of cocoa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. "The UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa programme was set-up to help produce cocoa more sustainably and to improve the incomes and livelihoods of the farmers that produce it. These premiums recognise the hard work undertaken by the farmers and demonstrate that we are fulfilling our aims."
The UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa programme - co-founded by Cargill, along with Dutch development organisation Solidaridad and others in the cocoa sector - has introduced independent certification to improve agricultural, environmental and social practices in cocoa production. It is supporting small-scale farmers to improve their farming practices, thereby producing a higher quality crop with increased productivity. The certification of the cooperatives in Cote d'Ivoire was the result of an intensive 10 month training programme run by Cargill for the farmers in the cooperatives.
Cargill's farmer training programme has resulted in farmers benefitting from a 30% increase in their incomes from higher yields, as well as an improvement in the quality of their crop. The better quality and compliance with UTZ CERTIFIED standards is being rewarded with these first payments of the UTZ Certification premium.
"We believe training farmers to increase yields, improve quality and adopt more sustainable practices can directly contribute to increased earnings for cocoa farmers," continued Harold Poelma. "While increases for each farmer may vary depending on the market price, quality and yields, farmers who adopt better farming practices are benefitting from higher incomes, as well as improving their long-term success."
During the 10 month Farmer Field School training programme, farmers are trained in good and safe practices focusing on farming techniques and post-harvest activities such as pruning, plantation renewal and cocoa fermentation methods. In addition the programme also stresses broader social aspects, such as the importance of ensuring children's education and HIV awareness.
To continue to support cocoa farmers in Cote d'Ivoire, Cargill has made a commitment to train 10,000 farmers in 300 Farmer Field Schools across 35 cooperatives by the end of 2010. The Farmer Field Schools will enable cooperatives to become UTZ CERTIFIED, and this means that by the end of this year more than 10,000 tonnes of cocoa beans will be available for use in sustainably certified chocolate and cocoa products.
About UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside
UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside is a sustainability program dedicated to creating an open and transparent marketplace for agricultural products. UTZ CERTIFIED has developed sustainability models for the production of cocoa, coffee and tea, and offers traceability services for palm oil. UTZ CERTIFIED's vision is to achieve sustainable agricultural supply chains in which farmers are trained to be professionals. The industry takes responsibility by demanding and sourcing sustainably grown products and consumers buy products that meet their standard for social and environmental responsibility.
In 2007, Cargill, Ecom Agroindustrial, Heinz Benelux, Mars, Nestle, Royal Ahold, Solidaridad, Oxfam Novib, WWF and UTZ CERTIFIED founded the Good Inside cocoa program. In August 2009, two co-operatives in Cote d'Ivoire received the first UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa certificates for 1,590 member farmers after working with Cargill and Solidaridad in an intensive eight month program, with support of the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative. The first certified cocoa beans were officially presented on November 7th, 2009 to Mr. Bert Koenders, the Dutch Minister of Development Co-operation.
The first UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa and chocolate products are now available in the market. For more information visit: www.utzcertified.org.
About Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate:
Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate offers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customised cocoa and chocolate ingredients to be used in delicious bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications all over the world. Our product range includes high quality Gerkens® cocoa powders, chocolate including Wilbur®, Peter's® and Veliche®, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. With years of experience in technical food expertise Cargill supports its customers in new recipes and new product development.
Our facilities in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, the Netherlands, UK and the USA are fully dedicated to produce in accordance with the highest food safety standards.
To secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans we have our own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and/or exporting of cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia and Vietnam. Presence in all the leading producing countries allows Cargill to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products on our customers' doorstep. In addition, extensive market research and analysis proves to be a source of valuable information to our customers.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 138,000 people in 67 countries.
Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit http://www.cargill.com.