Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate, has begun training members of five farmer cooperatives in the Central region of Cameroon to enable them to become independently certified by Rainforest Alliance. Approximately 1,000 farmers will receive training in the next 12 months. This is an extension of the already successful collaboration between Barry Callebaut and the prominent independent certification body that began in Ivory Coast in 2010.
"We see a great opportunity to start work with farmer organizations and producers in Cameroon who are interested in improving yields and quality by growing cocoa in a sustainable way," said Nicholas Camu, group manager of Cocoa Horizons. "It's the first time these farmer groups are taking a serious look at the potential benefits of training to achieve certification. We're proud to be collaborating with the Rainforest Alliance to help enable these pioneering cooperatives reach their ambitious sustainability goals."
Cocoa Horizons is Barry Callebaut's ambitious CHF 40 million cocoa sustainability initiative, launched in March 2012 and designed to boost farm productivity, increase quality and improve family livelihoods in key cocoa producing countries in West and Central Africa, Indonesia and Brazil over the next 10 years.
Barry Callebaut staff in Cameroon will deliver the training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and provide support in setting up internal control systems and improving administrative procedures at the cooperatives, with support of the Rainforest Alliance.
"We are pleased to be working with Barry Callebaut and Cameroon farmers on this ground-breaking and challenging new venture - the first comprehensive training program to be launched in Cameroon with farmers who aspire to achieve the sustainability standards of Rainforest Alliance certification," said Eric Servat, Senior Manager of the Cocoa Program at the Rainforest Alliance.
"We've seen the positive results of training on farmer livelihoods in Ivory Coast, where we are also working closely with Barry Callebaut and farmer cooperatives, and we applaud Barry Callebaut for expanding its initiative to Central Africa and for its long-term commitment to cocoa farmers in Cameroon," he added. "The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land and this cooperation underscores our efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily."
The certification training activities build on the success of Barry Callebaut's own Quality Partner Program (QPP) with farmer cooperatives, started in Ivory Coast in 2005 and launched in Cameroon in 2010.
The Rainforest Alliance certification standard includes economic, social and environmental criteria, with an emphasis on environmental issues, including protection of natural resources and the management of chemical inputs such as fertilizer and pesticide. For more information on Rainforest Alliance: rainforestalliance.org.