Cargill will share more than €1.4 million among its cocoa farmer-suppliers to recognise their efforts in becoming certified under its Cocoa Promise initiative.
The company described the move, which will affect over 9,500 cocoa farmers in Cameroon, as the largest ever amount made in premium payments for sustainable cocoa in the Central African country. The amount will be divided between the farmers based on the amount of cocoa they have produced in the past year, with each grower receiving close to €150 on average.
The payments “directly reflect” the growing demand for certified cocoa products and the work involved in becoming a certified farmer, Cargill said.
While Cargill, as part of the joint venture Telcar, has been training cocoa farmers in Cameroon since 2011, the Cargill Cocoa Promise efforts on the ground have become more advanced in the last year, training nearly 21,000 cocoa farmers at over 600 farmer field schools and building 11 boreholes for local communities to increase access to potable drinking water.
The programmes provide farmers with a route to improved profitability and productivity, with 10,000 new farmers expected to undergo the training in 2016/2017.
Lionel Soulard, regional managing director Africa for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate, said:
“It is exciting to see the development of the cocoa sector in Cameroon and the significant progress that has been made so far. With the significant buy-in and demand from our customers for certified cocoa our long-term goal is to contribute to a thriving cocoa sector for farmers and their communities. To make this happen, we have set up the right support, tools and training to help farmers and communities improve their livelihoods and contribute to professionalising the cooperatives. Only when farmers take their own destiny in their own hands will we have a truly sustainable cocoa sector.”
Telcar chief executive officer Kate Kanyi-Tometi Fotso said:
“Farmer organisations are critical to accelerating our outreach in Cameroon. By empowering these organisations, supporting training in business skills and strengthening their business operations, we can help progress this sector for the future.”
The premium payments are made to certified farmer cooperatives with 50% going directly to individual members, and the remainder being invested in projects that boost productivity or farm development for the farmer organisation or projects that will benefit the wider community. For Cameroon this has so far included boreholes, scholarships, Cassava grinding machines for women’s groups and credit or discount schemes for crop protection products.
Cargill said that the payments would act as “an incentive” for farmers to adopt good agricultural practices and to directly support and influence improvements that will make a difference to their own communities.