NIGERIA – Barry Callebaut, a prominent cocoa processing company in Nigeria, has taken a remarkable step in recognizing the dedication and hard work of 3,000 cocoa farmers by rewarding them with a total of US$419,550.
This initiative, which was unfolded under the banner of the ‘Premium Distribution Flag-off’ event in Akure, the capital of Ondo State, underscored the company’s commitment to fostering sustainable cocoa production and uplifting the livelihoods of these farmers.
Mujeeb Oniyide, the sustainability operations manager at Barry Callebaut, expressed the company’s motivation behind this generous gesture.
“This innovative approach aims to enhance the financial inclusion of farmers, ensuring that they reap the full benefits of their hard work and dedication,” Oniyide said.
He emphasized that empowering farmers with the necessary resources and financial rewards was a means to motivate and encourage them to continue supplying high-quality cocoa beans.
Oniyide also highlighted the alignment of this initiative with Barry Callebaut’s Cocoa Horizon sustainability program.
This program seeks to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities by promoting sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, enhancing productivity, and fostering community development.
To achieve these goals, the company has already provided training to over 5,000 cocoa farmers across Osun, Ondo, Ogun, and Cross Rivers states, focusing on good agricultural practices.
The company’s support extended beyond training, as it distributed vital farm inputs such as spraying machines, rain boots, cutlasses, wheelbarrows, and more during the season.
These resources will enable farmers to optimize their farming practices, achieve higher yields, and consistently meet industry quality standards.
Barry Callebaut’s long-term vision revolves around nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship with cocoa farmers, promoting sustainable practices, and maintaining the industry’s rigorous quality standards.
In line with the National Economic Development Plans and their broader sustainability agenda, many beneficiaries will receive their premium payments through a digital wallet system created exclusively for the farmers.
Lawrence Afere, the founder of the Springboard Farmers co-operative in Ondo State, applauded Barry Callebaut’s support and urged fellow farmers to redouble their efforts in improving cocoa bean quality.
One of the beneficiaries, Adenike Ogbera, expressed gratitude for the rewards, stating that they would undoubtedly attract more farmers to cocoa production and motivate existing cocoa farmers to produce higher-quality cocoa.
Barry Callebaut’s recent initiative not only recognizes the dedication of cocoa farmers but also underscores the company’s commitment to the sustainable growth of the cocoa industry, the welfare of farmers, and the broader goal of achieving a thriving, carbon-conscious cocoa sector by 2050.