Direct farmer programmes allow us to trace cocoa all the way to the farm where it was grown. Knowing the origin of the cocoa provides us with our best chance to cooperate with cocoa farmers. The most important aspect of this is that together we can develop the farming programme to guarantee the best possible crops and income for the growers.
Our chocolate manufacturing relies on both certified cocoa (UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade Cocoa Program) and cocoa bought through the direct programmes. Our direct programmes focus on supporting farmers in Nigeria and Ecuador. The cocoa from farmers that belong in the programmes is traceable all the way to individual farms.
What is the objective of the programmes?
Roughly four fifths of the world's cocoa farmers do not currently fall under the scope of the certification systems. They need support to develop their operations. Besides certified cocoa production, we also want to support farmers who do not belong to the systems.
The farmer programmes aim to ensure that cocoa farming is a rewarding activity and that it can offer the farmers and their families a path to a good income. We want to ensure that the cocoa we use comes from farmers who get the best possible benefit from their work. This means improving the quality and yield of crops through the renewal of training and the farms, for example. We believe supporting growers is something we can influence and has an impact on entire farming communities. As part of the programme, we also carry out projects that aim to develop the farming communities.
How do the programmes work?
The programmes revolve around the farmers. Because better income is based on crops with a higher yield, the programmes focus on training. Training is also organised in relation to the environmental impact of farming, for example, and working conditions. The farmers involved in the programmes are also offered an opportunity for better cacao tree seedlings and fertilizers. This provides the farmers with a chance to develop their own business and thereby the level of their income.
In Nigeria, the farming communities that participate in the programmes also have people responsible for and trained to prevent child labour. As part of the programmes, the farming communities also engage in infrastructure development initiatives intended to generate effects that benefit the entire farming community. The targets (such as digging wells or expanding schools) are selected in cooperation with the farming communities. The farming communities are also supported by providing them with useful materials and equipment related to farming and good practices, such as protective equipment and fertilizers.
Insofar as possible, the programmes are carried out on the farmers' own terms and by the farmers themselves. In Nigeria, for example, the people who train the farmers, the people responsible for the tree nurseries and many others who play a central role in the programme's implementation are farmers selected by the farming communities from amongst themselves.
How do the farmers benefit from the programmes?
For cocoa farmers, the benefits to be gained from participating in the programme include:
- the development of cultivation methods and professional skills
- safe and appropriate fertilization
- improved yield and quality of crops
- more developed seedlings that allow the renewal of the farm's cacao tree stock
- mapping of the farm's surface and location.
The benefits for the farming communities include:
- the prevention of child labour and support for education
- community development (e.g. wells)
- protective equipment
How are the programmes monitored?
Our partners who carry out the projects in the countries of origin train the farmers and monitor the fulfilment of our responsibility criteria. They monitor the farmers and report to Fazer according to an agreed process. In addition, Fazer relies on audits it conducts itself and audits by third parties.
What are the benefits of the programmes for Fazer?
We believe that the programmes help us to make cocoa's value chain more responsible and to ensure the availability and quality of cocoa. Without cocoa, there is no chocolate – which is why cocoa farming must be financially attractive to farmers. Another significant benefit of the programmes is that they allow us to trace the cocoa right to individual farms. All of the farmers participating in the programme are registered and their farms are mapped, and we can engage in long-term cooperation with the farmers.
The future of cocoa at Fazer
Ethical and sustainable cocoa production is vital for the future of chocolate manufacturing.
This is why we at Fazer are doing our best to ensure the well-being of our most important raw material and its farmers. By 2017, we will be able to trace the origin of all our cocoa, and all of the cocoa we use will meet the criteria for responsible production. This means that all of the cocoa we purchase will be certified or come from farmers who belong to our direct programmes.
We are very close already – in 2016, the proportion of responsibly produced cocoa is 85% of the cocoa we use.