GHANA- The food, agriculture and industrial products company Cargill has doubled the volume of sustainable cocoa sourced with an estimated 13,000 cocoa farmers who benefit from its own licensed buying company (LBC) initiative.
Cargill has initiated direct sourcing of the commodity, and this is a 30% increase from the 10,000 farmers from last year.
The direct sourcing model (LBC) was established in 2016 following the successful application for a licence from the Ghanaian Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
According to Cargill, developing a direct sourcing capability in Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producing country would enable it meet growing demand for sustainable, certified cocoa.
For the 2017/18 crop season, Cargill has purchased 10,000 metric tons (MT) of certified cocoa and is making its second sustainable premium payment of US$ 870,000 to farmers since establishing its own direct sourcing model in 2016.
The premium payments currently represent the highest payments paid per bag of certified cocoa in the industry for the 2017/2018 crop season in Ghana, said the company.
Half of the sustainable premium payments are used directly by farmers to increase productivity and invested in a range of projects such as crop financing and protection, distribution of fertilizer and improving logistics and infrastructure.
Other payments are used to support education, healthcare and women empowerment initiatives, making a significant contribution to improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities, complementing other community projects undertaken through the Cargill Cocoa Promise.
“Direct sourcing puts cocoa farmers at the heart of our business and it means Cargill has become the partner of choice for cocoa farmers in Ghana,” said Pieter Reichert, Managing Director of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business in Ghana.
“Farmers are recognizing that, as well as a higher income, our approach offers them a wide range of support services to help them improve the quality and quantity of cocoa beans produced.
Such services, delivered under our Cargill Cocoa Promise, include one-on-one agricultural coaching, farmer field schools, high quality seedlings and resources for pest and disease management.
The model benefits everyone in the supply chain – farmers, who livelihoods improve and Cargill and our customers, who have access to more certified cocoa.”
LBC which is e-money enabled, allows Cargill to pay farmers directly by electronic transfer, ensuring the money reaches the grower swiftly, safely and accurately.
In addition to seven districts where LBC operates, Cargill has added four more districts for the next crop season.
“It is our hope that our electronic payment model which has proven to benefit the farmers, will help encourage the government to fulfil its vision of a cashless economy,” said Pieter Reichert.