Barry Callebaut launches sustainability research
By Bakers Journal
By Bakers Journal
April 27, 2011, Zurich – Barry Callebaut has launched an extensive agronomic research program in Malaysia, aimed at developing new, sustainable cocoa cultivation techniques.
The program aims to yield new insights into practical measures for boosting the sustainability, productivity and quality of cocoa production, and hence profitability for local farmers in a responsible and sustainable manner. Covering a total area of 10 hectares of an existing cocoa plantation, the program constitutes a large-scale experiment testing a wide variety of variables relevant to the Asian region.
The research program is being conducted in collaboration with the Malaysian company Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad. The trials will be conducted under a variety of conditions in both new and existing plantations. Several agricultural techniques and good agriculture practices (GAP) will be tested, including new pruning and grafting techniques, the use of organic fertilizers, other organic cultivation techniques and agro-forestry principles. A further area of focus will be improved post-harvest cocoa treatment techniques to improve Malaysian cocoa bean quality to achieve “zero-defect” status.
“Securing the future of the cocoa industry demands that we find more sustainable cultivation methods now,” said Hans Vriens, chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut. “This important program is proving key to our overarching goal of boosting the viability of cocoa production by improving both quality and productivity and, by doing so, increasing incomes for local farmers and their communities.”
Preparations are already underway for the rehabilitation and planting of the experimental plots. The first preliminary results are expected in a year’s time, around June 2012. Barry Callebaut is excited about the prospects of adding even more innovative techniques to its portfolio, aimed at fostering a more sustainable industry for local growers, producers and consumers throughout the globe.