The first cocoa beans produced from UTZ Certified farmer co-operatives have now been delivered for processing by Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.

The first cocoa beans produced from UTZ Certified farmer co-operatives have now been delivered for processing by Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. As the crop harvest continues into 2010, the use of beans from these certified sources will be extended to the complete product portfolio.

Cargill is a founding partner of the UTZ Certified cocoa program. The program’s aim is to ensure good agricultural, environmental and social practices in cocoa production. This enables small-scale farmers to improve their farming practices, thereby producing a higher quality crop with increased productivity. Farmers benefit from a higher income based on the principle “a better price for a better product.” Participants throughout the supply chain demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing of sustainably produced cocoa.

Daan de Vries, UTZ Certified program manager-cocoa, said: “As a founding partner of the UTZ Certified cocoa program, Cargill has been involved in our work from the beginning, playing a key role in connecting with other companies and creating the immense momentum of the program. Cargill’s pioneering collaboration with Ivorian national rural development agency ANADER, its extensive infrastructure and its insistence on sourcing only quality beans from the Côte d’Ivoire have been vital to making UTZ Certified cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire a reality. ”

As part of the celebrations around the production of the first certified beans they were officially presented at the opening day of CHOCA, the Amsterdam Chocolate Festival earlier this month. The ceremony was performed by Bert Koenders, minister of development and cooperation in the Netherlands, alongside representatives of the certified farmer groups.

The beans arriving at CHOCA have been produced by the first two certified co-operatives in Côte d'Ivoire. Cargill’s intensive eight-month program trained 1,590 farmers at the cooperatives in responsible and sustainable agricultural practices. The certifications were completed following independent audits and are awarded on an annual basis.

Harold Poelma, managing director of cocoa for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said: “We are extremely pleased that the first sustainable certified beans from the Agricole de Fiédifoué and Coopaga co-operatives are about to be processed by Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. We currently have 12 other co-operatives moving towards certification, in which we are running 150 farmer-training programs, rising to 300 next year. As these co-operatives become certified they will contribute to the anticipated target of 10,000 tons of certified beans in 2010.”

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate has run training programs for farmers for nearly a decade, as the best way to bring sustainability to the supply chain. Through education in good agricultural practices farmers improve quality and yield, leading to increased incomes.“Our analysis on these first certified beans shows that the quality is very good. It is too early to be specific about increased yield, but on past experience we can expect a productivity increase of at least 30% as a result of the training that farmers have undertaken,” Poelma says.

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate