Aug. 9, 2012, Switzerland – Barry Callebaut has trained 15,000 cocoa farmers from 50 farmer co-operatives in Côte d'Ivoire in sustainable cocoa production, enabling them to become independently certified by Rainforest Alliance. The co-operatives are located throughout Côte d'Ivoire's cocoa production belt, with the majority located in Bas-Sassandra, the country's biggest cocoa-producing region today.
Barry Callebaut pays the co-operatives a premium for the certified beans. Participating farmers receive half of the premium, with the other half retained by the co-operative and used to provide services to its farmer members or for community facilities.
"We see great potential for more farmers to participate in certification training activities - including existing co-op members as well as potential new members – once they see how their neighbours' efforts pay off," said Anke Massart, Cocoa Horizons project manager in Côte d'Ivoire. "Farms are more productive, families are healthier because of the focus on safety and farmers earn a premium for their certified beans."
Barry Callebaut's in-house certification team, based in Côte d'Ivoire, provides training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and support in setting up internal control systems to help farmers and co-op managers meet the environmental, social and economic criteria of Rainforest Alliance, an independent sustainability certification system for cocoa.
Recent studies commissioned by Rainforest Alliance and conducted by the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) have shown that certified cocoa farms in Côte d'Ivoire produced more cocoa per hectare compared with non-certified farms, while the costs of inputs such as labour, biocides and processing were roughly the same. Higher yields resulted in certified farmers earning higher net income - defined as a farm's revenue from cocoa sales minus the costs of inputs – and applied more water protection measures and more soil conservation practices compared with farmers who were not certified.