In the beginning of 2017, we achieved one of our most important goals: 100% of our cocoa was responsibly produced. We source cocoa through UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade Cocoa Programme as well as through our own farmer programmes. Fazer produces chocolate from processed cocoa products – cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. One fourth of the cocoa we purchase comes from Ecuador and three quarters from West Africa. Around 40 % of the cocoa we use is processed in the countries of origin; the rest is processed in Europe.
We see the combination of the two sourcing methods as the best option for several reasons. Only approximately 20% of the world’s cocoa farmers work in co-operation with certification organisations, which means that the supply of certified cocoa is insufficient to cover the needs of chocolate producers. Direct farmer programmes are needed to complement certified cocoa. In addition, we need to ensure that all cocoa farmers have the possibility to produce cocoa sustainably. With direct programmes, we are also able to constantly monitor, for instance, whether child labour is used, as we train local people for this task. This is more efficient than occasional inspections.
Our farmer programmes address social as well as environmental aspects of cocoa farming and support the farming communities. They have encouraged especially women to participate in training and improve their standards of living with their learnings. The cost of implementing direct programmes is higher than that of purchasing certified cocoa, but we see this as a necessary investment towards a reliable supply in the future.
Farmer programme in Nigeria – 75 000 new cocoa seedlings and safer tools
Fazer’s farmer programme in Nigeria includes some 4,500 farmers. The programme operates in seven Local Government Areas in the Cross River State, located in south-eastern Nigeria. Farming is the region’s main livelihood, and in addition to cocoa, farmers grow crops such as cassava, rice and bananas.
The farmer programme allows us to help farmers improve their income. Sustainable farming practices yield better crops and higher quality.
We also support community projects based on the farmers’ needs. The improvement of occupational safety is part of the work. In addition to training, we have delivered 400 units of protective equipment and 2,000 Pelle Bongo tools, which enable the safer opening of cocoa pods. During harvesting, the cocoa pods are picked by hand and cut in half. Pelle Bongo is a harvesting tool which can replace the traditional machetes or wood batons. It is safer and more ergonomic than a knife, and because it provides a better way for collecting the beans of the cocoa fruit, it also helps farmers improve productivity.
During the farmer programme in Nigeria, we have built artesian wells and two schools, and delivered 400 units of protective equipment and 2,000 safer tools for opening cocoa pods. The development of women’s income level has been furthered with training focused on soap production, among other things. By the summer of 2018, farmers in the programme had planted 75,000 new cocoa seedlings as well as 60,000 seedlings in a new programme.