Cocoa is the most important ingredient in chocolate. Fazer’s chocolate factory in Vantaa produces around 100,000 kilos of chocolate per day from cocoa mass, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Cocoa is also used in Fazer’s bakeries and cafés, as well as in hundreds of Fazer restaurants.
Of the cocoa purchased by Fazer, 25 per cent comes from Ecuador and 75 per cent from West Africa. Broad-based sourcing ensures that options with the required taste profiles are always available. Fazer only uses responsibly produced cocoa: of the cocoa it purchased in 2017, 86 per cent was certified and 14 per cent was purchased through sustainable grower programmes.
Sourcing focuses on the benefit gained by the farmer
There are around five million cocoa farmers in the world. Cocoa farms are typically a few hectares in size and are kept by the same family from one generation to the next. Up to 70 per cent of these farms are in West Africa, where cocoa farmers face many types of challenges. “In addition to climate change, the challenges include getting young people interested in cocoa farming, as they prefer urban lifestyles,” says Maljen Fazer, senior specialist for the quality of cocoa and chocolate at Fazer. “Renewal also presents problems. To the farmers, their cocoa trees are like family, which makes regeneration difficult.”
Certification is not the only way to ensure sustainability. According to estimates, around 80 per cent of the world’s cocoa farmers are not covered by any certification system. To ensure the future of cocoa farming and chocolate production, farming outside the certification systems must be developed through grower programmes. For this reason, Fazer also purchases cocoa through sustainable grower programmes, such as in Nigeria, where Fazer’s grower programme includes around 4,500 farmers. In 2018, Fazer started a new grower programme in Côte d’Ivoire, initially for 1,200 farmers.
Cocoa purchased through grower programmes can be traced all the way back to the farm, and the price paid for sustainable cocoa is the same as that for certified cocoa. In addition, farmers are provided with training and new, better cocoa tree seedlings. The programmes also include support for the entire community through the construction of schools and wells, for example. Two new schools were completed in Nigeria through the programme in early 2018. The projects are selected in cooperation with the farmers. In addition to promoting responsible cocoa farming, it is important to support the entire farming community and to improve opportunities for raising income levels in the future.
Read farmer stories:
- The grower programme makes dreams come true – Fidelis Adie has tripled his crops and is investing in quality
- Increasing cocoa crops through a training programme – healthier trees secure income for Eta Christopher’s family
- Good farming practices reduce the need for pesticides – Michael Otu Bisong has learned how to prevent plant diseases effectively with a smaller amount of chemicals