Cargill has officially extended its sustainable cocoa program to South Sulawesi province, Indonesia—an important step in developing sustainable cocoa production and increasing the yields of farmers in Indonesia—the world’s third-largest producer of cocoa beans.
This launch in Indonesia builds on the ongoing success of Cargill’s activities to develop sustainable cocoa supply chains in Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Brazil and Vietnam. It strengthens Cargill’s intention to scale up its efforts and develop its cocoa operations in Indonesia to help meet the increasing demand for cocoa across Asia.
The first step in Cargill’s program will establish Farmer Field Schools to teach farmers good agricultural practices to help improve yields, enhance the quality of cocoa and increase their incomes. The Farmer Field Schools will also train farmers on best practices for pest and disease control—an important element in Indonesia where currently it is estimated over 50 percent of the cocoa crop is lost to pests and diseases according to Cargill’s Crop Research Analysts. Initially, the aim is to train 1,000 farmers to reach independent sustainable certification for either UTZ or Rainforest Alliance certification.
The program will initiate the setup of farmers’ organizations, which will play a crucial role in the administration and certification of the cocoa crops. They also will offer farmers a platform to share expertise as well as an outlet to sell their crop at the best possible price. The program will start in South Sulawesi with the aim of extending to other regions in Indonesia over the next few years.
Commenting on the launch of the program Hamsah, a farmer from the Abadi Jaya Farmer Organisation in South Sulawesi province, said: “I am really looking forward to starting the training with Cargill. 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.”
The launch of the sustainable cocoa program in Indonesia is supported by the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and by a partnership with the South Sulawesi local government. Cargill is also working closely with field implementation partner, Swisscontact, to promote local development of farmers and to stimulate cooperation.
Taco Terheijden, Manager Sustainable Cocoa from Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate explains: “Our world leading program is mutually beneficial for local farmers and Cargill. By improving farmers’ productivity and bean quality, profitability will increase and improve the living standards for farmers and their families. At the same time it helps to realise our goal to develop a sustainable cocoa supply chain and improve the quality of cocoa for our customers.”
Cargill has had a presence in Indonesia for over 35 years. The sustainable cocoa program is the latest example of Cargill’s support for smallholders in Indonesia where it is already supporting activities in palm, livestock farming and corn production. Cargill’s cocoa activities include cocoa sourcing operations and a bean drying station in Makassar Indonesia. Additionally the company’s operations in the country include grain and oilseeds, palm oil, animal nutrition, as well as starches and sweeteners operations.