Cargill has published its second report on the Cargill Cocoa Promise, highlighting its progress towards improving the livelihoods of cocoa famers and their communities. Strengthening the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company has introduced a monitoring and evaluation system to improve the effectiveness of its activities, enabling a more evidence-based approach to help raise the living standards of farmers and their families, as well as to address the sustainability challenges in the cocoa supply chain.
“We have advanced our way of thinking and reporting. It’s not only about reaching the farmer, we are focused on improving livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities. Capturing the results of our efforts achieved on the ground is key, as it helps us understand how our actions are delivering results that truly benefit farmers and communities.” says Harold Poelma, President, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.
Farmer organizations are the starting-point for farmer training, farm development and community support. In association with strong partner organizations on the ground, Cargill supports the development of professional, business-oriented farmer organizations that take responsibility for managing sustainability programs and supporting their implementation by farmers and communities. Some 181 farmer cooperatives are now enrolled in the program.
By participating in the Cargill Cocoa Promise, farmers become empowered, self-supporting entrepreneurs who manage professional and responsible farms and generate a living income or beyond. In 2015, some 90,000 cocoa farmers attended 2,700 Farmer Field Schools. This training enables farmers to achieve maximum profitability from their cocoa farms, to optimize production by using inputs, such as crop protection and fertilizers efficiently, while reducing their impact on the environment. Through applying better plant protection, a 23% average yield improvement could be achieved for farmers.
Building on more than a decade of experience and lessons, a major part of the work today is focused on women’s empowerment, children’s protection and family nutrition. Because of the role women often play as care givers and food providers, the Cargill Cocoa Promise is helping to reduce poverty whilst improving family welfare and child nutrition. In 2015, more than 2,000 women successfully accessed credit to support income generating activities, which is over 50% of the total number of people who received finance through Village Saving and Loan Associations set-up with Cargill’s support.
Through the reach of the Cargill Cocoa Promise, 97% of children enrolled in the program in Ghana have stayed in school for at least five years. And in the last two years, thanks to new infrastructure, primary school enrolment has increased by 4.7%.
The main evolution outlined in the report are the robust methods Cargill has established to monitor and evaluate progress in terms of gains in autonomy and professionalization of farmer cooperatives, enhanced entrepreneurial capacity for farmers and empowerment of the farming communities. This evolved framework enables the program to illustrate the achieved results with evidence. The data is shared with farmers and farm organizations, allowing for better planning and targeted activities to improve cocoa profitability. And ultimately, the enhanced traceability, aligned with the industry efforts, provides our customers with hard facts, helping them deliver their sustainability strategies.
“The ‘let’s produce more’ approach is shifting to a more nuanced alternative. We’re looking to increase profitability of the farm, by increasing productivity in a cost efficient manner,” says Taco Terheijden, director of cocoa sustainability at Cargill. “That’s why we have evolved the way we deliver the program and measure its impact. We will continue to extend its scope and reach, bringing more benefits to farmers, families and cocoa communities.”