Impact Stories

Improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers
and protecting forests

Improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and protecting forests

Within our cocoa supply chain, in March 2018, Ferrero received the Fairtrade Germany Award for our long-term partnership with Fairtrade and cooperative union ECOOKIM. Through this collaboration and many more activities within Ferrero’s cocoa sustainability program, Ferrero aims at improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and offering future perspectives as well as at protecting and restoring the forests. At the same time, we get closer to fulfilling our promise to source 100% sustainable cocoa beans for all Ferrero products by the end of 2020.

More Cocoa on Less Land

“I grow 1.6 hectares of cocoa. I joined the cooperative in 2014. Before, I produced 450 Kilograms of cocoa per year. Now, since I started applying good agricultural practices and my field is well kept, I grow more. I won our local competition for 2018-2019, growing 950 kilograms!” says Momboye Célestin, a member of the cooperative Soutra in Côte d'Ivoire. Momboye Célestin is one of many cocoa farmers who have participated in farmer trainings organized by Ferrero’s partner ECOOKIM. “With the knowledge that I have now, I have more than doubled my harvest, which gives me over 300,000 CFA francs more this year. I bought a bike to facilitate my trips.”

Training farmers for sustainable cocoa production as an essential point

Momboye Célestin’s cooperative is part of EKOOKIM, a union of cocoa farmers that democratically decides at the end of each cocoa season how the certification premium they receive from Ferrero is used. Training farmers for sustainable cocoa production always comes up as an essential point, with investments in recruiting technicians for trainings on good agricultural and environmental practices. These trainings happen on the field – in Farmer Field Schools – and off the field to raise awareness among communities on good social and environmental practices.
In addition to trainings, EKOOKIM provides farmers with inputs such as fertilizers and cocoa seedlings, and the cooperative union has a team of trained experts in the application of crop protection products. Thanks to all these efforts, farmers have seen significant increases in yield and income.
Nana Sakre, farmer at Coopasid manages 8,500 hectares. “I produce a lot of compost in my field, that I then apply. In 2015, I produced 4,500 kg but for the current season I produced 6,497 kg. With this money I set up a shop that allows me to diversify my sources of income. My plan for next year is to build my house.”

promoting child development and empowering women

As the cooperatives become more mature and professionalized, the premium use is changing. The amount invested in community projects is increasing significantly. These include promoting child development and empowering women, which is essential to build strong and resilient farmer communities. By helping communities produce ‘more cocoa on less land’, cocoa and chocolate companies help reduce the incentive for farmers to encroach on protected forests.

Mapping cocoa farms to tackle deforestation

Raphaëlle Peinado is in charge of leveraging sophisticated mapping technology to accelerate the fight against deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. “To know about the exact location and size of the farm is important for any sustainability measures. Also, it helps ensure that companies such as Ferrero understand where their farms are to stop farming in protected and deforested regions.”

How does this work? “To start, every farmer is visited by a field agent and is interviewed on different data of the farm, such as the number of trees or the soil fertility. These are entered in a mobile app. Then, agents walk the perimeter of every farm to measure the precise area and GPS location. The technology aggregates all the geo data and compares farms against satellite imagery to assess deforestation risk and national park boundaries.”

Mapping benefits everyone along the value chain – from the farmer to the sourcing companies implementing sustainability activities on the ground. “During my recent visit in Ghana, when we tested the tool, I asked a farmer: “How big is your farm?”. He answered, estimating “three hectares”. After polygon mapping it with our application, it turned out the farm was only one hectare. I realized that this tool can help farmers to become more aware of their own operations.”

Sustainability nowadays is about having the right data

The technology not only provides information about the exact location and size of the farm to help companies understand if there is any risk of deforestation in their supply chain. It also records data on sustainability activities taking place on the ground such as farmer trainings or re-forestation. It can also monitor the income of a farmer. In the end, it helps to shape targeted support for the farmer. “Sustainability nowadays is about having the right data, so it is important to have a reliable tool that gathers data which makes sense.”

The way forward is to be able to aggregate all the data and, in the near future, move away from paper. This won’t happen overnight, with a significant hurdle being the local infrastructure: internet and electricity are not always accessible. Fortunately, the app can be used offline, with data being transmitted when internet connection is established.