Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, announced that its joint venture partner Biopartenaire, a specialized village-to-port cocoa bean supplier based in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire, is now Rainforest Alliance Certified. Biopartenaire was designated UTZ Certified in 2011.
Established in 2010, Biopartenaire works with cocoa farmers in 292 villages to produce good quality, well-fermented and well-dried cocoa. Together with Barry Callebaut's sustainability experts, the company offers farmer trainings in good agricultural practices and proper post-harvest management techniques in accordance with leading certification standards. Biopartenaire's village-to-port proprietary sourcing model ensures a high degree of transparency and supply chain security.
"Biopartenaire works with smallholder farmers on the basis of mutual respect and trust. These guiding principles served us in good stead as we built our business in the challenging months after the post-election crisis in Côte d'Ivoire," said Eric Smeets, founder of Biopartenaire. "Achieving recognition first as UTZ Certified and now as Rainforest Alliance Certified in about two years is a testament to the perseverance and hard work of our staff and all our participating farmers, and underscores our commitment to smallholders and sustainable cocoa."
Barry Callebaut buys most of the cocoa produced by the farmers who have registered to work with Biopartenaire.
"We believe Biopartenaire's business model is an effective way to reach thousands of cocoa farmers who are not associated with a farmer group or cooperative and who, as independent smallholders, don't experience the benefits such organizations can offer in terms of training, services and market access," said Nicholas Camu, Group Manager Cocoa Horizons at Barry Callebaut. "Through our joint venture with Biopartenaire, we aim to leverage its farmer-centric approach to reach more farming communities and advance sustainable cocoa production in Côte d'Ivoire."
Biopartenaire, a subsidiary of the Biolands Group, is based on the successful farmer-centric business model designed by the founders of Biolands in Tanzania. Biolands, Africa's largest exporter of certified organic cocoa, is a long-time supplier of top-quality cocoa to Barry Callebaut. In addition to meeting the standards of organic certification, Biolands is Fair for Life, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified. Barry Callebaut owns 49 percent of the Biolands Group.