Barry Callebaut establishes cocoa research farm as Nestlé makes progress towards deforestation-free cocoa

ECUADOR – Swiss cocoa processor and chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut is establishing a new Cocoa farm in Ecuador to power cocoa farming research and innovation and support its goal to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025.

Monikered Farm of the Future, the 640-hectare property is located in the Cerecita Valley, between Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and the Pacific Ocean.

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Operations and infrastructure development will start immediately with the planting of cocoa seedlings on the farm’s 400 hectares of non-planted land, Barry Callebaut revealed.

“With the opening of Farm of the Future, Barry Callebaut is further strengthening its cocoa farming research capabilities for the benefit of cocoa yield, sustainability, and quality,” said Steven Retzlaff, President Global Cocoa.

In addition to planting high-yielding cocoa varieties, Barry will also test resilient farming techniques, pre-and post-harvest processes, fermentation control, diversification of income, and improved cost control.

New findings from the farm will further help support Barry’s research and will feed into its Farm Services program, reaching cocoa farmers of all origins in the company’s supply chain.

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“Ultimately, we aim to establish the best cocoa farming practices that are climate-smart and enhance sustainability and farm profitability,” Barry Callebaut said.

Once the farm is fully operational, the Switzerland headquarter company aims to employ approximately 80 people from the local area.

Nestlé reports further progress toward deforestation-free cocoa

As Barry works towards a future where sustainable chocolate is the norm, Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, has been investing in projects aimed at achieving deforestation-free cocoa supply chain by 2025.

Since joining the Cocoa and Forests Initiative in 2017, Nestlé has been working in collaboration with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where it sources most of its cocoa.

So far, the maker of the KitKat chocolate brand has been able to restore more than 400 hectares of forests in the Cavally Forest Reserve – one of the largest classified forests in Côte d’Ivoire – and in Beki and Toa Zèo forests.

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Nestlé has also been able to map over 104 000 farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana while expanding the Nestlé Cocoa Plan from 110 000 to 127 000 farmers.

More than 2,2 million forest and local fruit trees have also been supplied to farmers to drive agroforestry and regenerative agriculture and the company has been able to reach 5 000 farmers and their families with community awareness-raising sessions.

The company’s satellite surveillance systems both in West Africa and Latin America have also been key in assisting local patrols group to target their intervention effectively while helping Nestlé to avoid sourcing from deforested areas.

Early this year, the company launched an innovative program that rewards farmers for the quantity and quality of cocoa beans they produce and their benefits to the environment and local communities.

Through its income accelerator program, farmers will receive cash incentives for performing agroforestry activities such as planting shade trees to increase climate resilience.

These initiatives and others like deploying nature-based solutions, like forest conservation and restoration contribute to Nestlé’s climate actions to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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