Cargill and AeroFarms partner to develop more resilient and sustainable cocoa production

The partnership between Cargill and AeroFarms seeks to build a more resilient and sustainable cocoa supply chain through vertical indoor farming.

Cargill (Minneapolis, MN) has partnered with AeroFarms (Newark, NJ) as part of an ongoing effort to build a more resilient and sustainable cocoa sector. AeroFarms is an indoor vertical farming pioneer that uses 95% less water and no pesticides compared to traditional farming. The purpose of the partnership is to improve cocoa bean yields and develop more climate-resilient farming practices by bringing together AeroFarms’ expertise in controlled environment agriculture, and Cargill’s extensive knowledge of cocoa agronomy and production practices.

"Environmental challenges and growing demand for cocoa products are placing increased pressure on the global cocoa supply chain," said Niels Boetje, managing director Cargill Cocoa Europe, in a press release. "Through partnerships with research institutes, universities and innovative companies like AeroFarms, we are collaborating across sectors in bold experiments to bring greater productivity and resiliency to traditional cocoa farming operations. We look forward to sharing our findings with the farmer cooperatives in our cocoa supply chain to help ensure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come."

"AeroFarms shares a similar vision as Cargill to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way," said David Rosenberg, co-founder and CEO of AeroFarms. "We have grown over 550 different crops, and we are excited to be working on another project with them, this time focused on cocoa. At AeroFarms we think of our proprietary technology as a platform to optimize plant biology, genetics, mechanical systems, operational systems, environmental systems and digital controls, data capture and analytics. Genetics and speed breeding is one of the verticals where we focus. Applying our platform to optimize cocoa growing is one way that AeroFarms can have a broader positive impact on the world."

Initial exploratory work has already begun in AeroFarms’ Newark, NJ headquarters, but will soon expand to its state-of-the-art AeroFarms AgX Research & Development indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which is slated to open in early 2022.