Cargill Begins Sustainable Cocoa Program in Indonesia

October 18, 2012

The company will teach farmers how to increase cocoa yield in order to sell cocoa for a premium price.

Cargill (Wyzata, MN) has extended its sustainable cocoa program to the South Sulawesi province of Indonesia, where the cocoa ingredient supplier hopes to replicate success it has had with cocoa farming in the Ivory Coast.

Cargill’s sustainable cocoa program has three basic intentions: to improve cocoa yield, secure long-term cocoa production, and improve the livelihood and income of cocoa farmers. To do this, Cargill will initiate Farmer Field Schools in Indonesia to teach best practices for cocoa farming (including pest and disease control), giving cocoa farmers the skills to potentially obtain UTZ or the Rainforest Alliance certification to sell cocoa products for a premium price.

“I am really looking forward to starting the training with Cargill,” said Hamsah, a farmer from the Abadi Jaya Farmer Organization in South Sulawesi province.“By using the information and techniques learned through the Farmer Field Schools I will be able to have a healthier farm with higher yields, and ultimately by becoming certified I will receive a premium payment for my crop.”

Indonesia is said to be the world’s third-largest cocoa producing nation. Cargill hopes to initially train 1000 Indonesian farmers for independent certification before expanding its program to other parts of the country. Kickstarting the program in Indonesia could prove highly fruitful, as Cargill’s crop research analysts estimate that more than half of the Indonesia’s cocoa crop is lost to pests and disease every year.

Cargill also has cocoa supply chains in the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, Brazil, and Vietnam, and facilities in numerous other countries. The company supplies a range of cocoa ingredients, including powders, chocolates, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquids, and cocoa butters.