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  • Spilling the beans: FTA scientists contribute to new book about sustainable cocoa 

Spilling the beans: FTA scientists contribute to new book about sustainable cocoa 

Cacao produced in Cameroon. Photo by O. Girard/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

With a distinguished editor and a variety of international experts as authors, including a number from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing recently launched the book Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa, considered a new standard reference for scientists and producers of cocoa.

Eduardo Somarriba from the Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program (PRAGA) at CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) appears as a chapter author, while CATIE’s Rolando Cerda and Wilbert Phillips are coauthors.

Bioversity International’s Stephan Weise, Brigitte Laliberté and Jan Engels also contributed to the book. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) saw a number of contributors across various chapters, namely Philippe Lachenaud, Didier Snoeck, Bernard Dubos, Leïla Bagny Beilhe, Régis Babin, Martijn ten Hoopen, Christian Cilas and Olivier Sounigo.

Read also: Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa

According to Francis Dodds, editorial director of Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, the book discusses the existing challenges standing in the way of making cocoa crops more efficient and sustainable, in order to supply increasing demand, while taking into account the increasing age of plantations, decreasing performance and greater vulnerability to illnesses. At the same time, the authors heed increasing concerns about the environmental impact of cocoa on soil health and biodiversity.

The first part of the book looks at genetic resources and developments in production technologies. The second part discusses the optimization of crop techniques to take maximum advantage of the new varieties, while the third part summarizes recent research about the understanding of and fight against major viral and fungal diseases affecting cocoa. The fourth part covers security and quality issues, and finally the last part of the book analyzes ways to improve sustainability, including the role of agroforestry, organic crops, and ways to support small producers.

Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa

Notably, Somarriba and Philips contributed to the first and fifth sections of the book, with Somarriba addressing the issue of the analysis and design of the shade canopy of cocoa in agroforestry systems, and Phillips looking at the main challenges of conservation and exploiting cocoa genetic resources.

Read also: CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

The book was edited by the recognized and cocoa expert, Pathmanathan Umahran, director of the Research Centre for Cocoa and professor of genetic at the University of the Occidental Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago.

Martin Gilmour, Director of Research and Sustainability Development of Cocoa at Mars Global Chocolate, stated in a press release from Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing that the book would be of great interest for researchers, development agencies, governments, specialists in the industry and non-government organizations, as well as anyone interested in improving cocoa crop sustainability.

Adapted from the article by CATIE communicator Karla Salazar Leiva, originally published by CATIE.

For more information, contact Karla Salazar Leiva at [email protected] or Eduardo Somarriba, Leader of CATIE’s Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program, at [email protected].

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  • Innovation and excellence from chocolate producers

Innovation and excellence from chocolate producers

A farmer prunes his Carabobo cacao tree, which was originally from Venezuela, in Ghana. Photo by Richard Markham/Bioversity International
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Chocolates are displayed at the 2017 Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Photo by S. Collins/Bioversity International

Amid preparations for a cocoa bean auction at Amsterdam’s historic stock exchange, Brigitte Laliberté spoke with Bioversity International about the newly released ruby chocolate, the Cocoa of Excellence Programme’s plans for the year and the best chocolates to gift on Valentine’s Day.

The program, coordinated by Bioversity International, is jointly organized with Event International in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and a number of other organizations. It generates incentives for producers to cultivate diverse cocoa varieties, leading to high-quality chocolate as the end result.

Something innovative happened last year – a new chocolate was launched on the global market. What makes ruby chocolate special? 

Ruby chocolate is a new type of chocolate compared to the three classics: white, milk and dark. All of these are results of different ways of processing the cocoa bean: the type of fermentation that the beans undergo after they are harvested and dried. Basically, white chocolate is made of cocoa butter, milk and sugar, milk chocolate cocoa butter and cocoa mass with sugar and milk whereas dark chocolate has no milk, therefore only cocoa (butter and mass) and sugar. All of these may have other ingredients such as fruits, nuts, vanilla and other spices.  But in essence these are the basic differentiations. Ruby has come out as the fourth type. While its ‘recipe’ is under wraps, I’m guessing that they’ve used a combination of fermentation techniques and specific cacao varieties to come up with the trendy pink color. Most cocoa beans are purple in color before they are fermented.

The cocoa bean has endless possibilities of providing different tastes and flavors. In the same way that different ways of processing allow chocolate producers to create thousands of types of chocolate where a piece of chocolate can remind us of banana, coconut or spices. No one wants to eat the same thing over and over again, except for your favorite go-to chocolate.

In a way, it is similar to wine: you might have your favorite wine but it is always interesting to taste something that you have not tasted before. The terroir – how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect affect the taste of the crop – also makes a difference in cocoa. The same variety planted in Ghana and Australia will taste differently because of the differences in the farms’ soil, agronomic practices and most importantly the fermentation and drying process. Depending on how it is carried out, the amount of days the beans are fermented, the local humidity and temperature can have an impact on the flavor of the bean even if, genetically, it is the same variety planted in another country or even region.

Read also: Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

A man prunes a Carabobo cacao tree, originally from Venezuela, on a farm in Ghana. Photo by Richard Markham/Bioversity International

What is the best type of chocolate to give a special someone on Valentine’s Day? 

It does not matter much if it is while, brown or pink, or filled. It depends on what that special someone likes! Do they enjoy a particular type of chocolate? Then that is the one to offer.

What is beautiful is that chocolate offers memory and pleasure, it is an experience. It brings us back to childhood memories. In fact, there is a lot of chocolate we enjoy eating because it brings us back to our childhood.

Personally, milk chocolates are my favorites because of sweet childhood memories in Canada. Dark chocolate has become more of an adult acquired taste. If I need comfort, I’ll enjoy a piece of milk chocolate but if I want to be stimulated, discover something new and connect to a different country and be a bit health-conscious, then I’ll have dark. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains and the more nutrients it has. Nowadays I also tend to go for origin chocolate: I enjoy knowing where the beans of a particular bar come from.

Similarly, if your special someone likes to try new things, the market offers new delicious options such as raw cocoa – that is less fermented – or single estate chocolate, which allows you to discover chocolate from cocoa that was individually estate grown in a single location.

Read also: Cocoa agroforestry is less resilient to sub-optimal and extreme climate than cocoa in full sun

As coordinator of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme, what is keeping you and your team busy?

My team and I are currently preparing the next edition of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme, which will be announced this summer. Before we open the call for all cocoa producing countries around the world, we’ll be reviewing the guidelines and promoting the winners of the International Cocoa Awards that were celebrated in Paris last year.

What is happening that is very special is the Chocoa Trade Fair that will take place in Amsterdam next week. As part of this, we’ll host a chocolate auction at the historical Amsterdam stock exchange: the same place where cocoa was traded centuries ago. We’ll recreate a live cocoa bean auction featuring three winning International Cocoa Awards bean samples, representing Tanzania, Madagascar and Colombia, and have an auctioneer. We hope that the bidders – chocolate producers and other cocoa bean buyers – will offer more than the current price of the cocoa beans; any profit made will go directly to the bean producers for a project of their choice.

Read also: Moving toward a sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International


The Cocoa of Excellence Programme, coordinated by Bioversity International, is jointly organized with Event International in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Guittard Chocolate, Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate, Barry Callebaut, Puratos and the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) with sponsorship from the European Cocoa Association (ECA), the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (Caobisco), the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC), Nestlé, the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Mars UK, Valrhona and with in-kind contributions from the Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (CRC/UWI), Valrhona, Weiss Chocolate and CocoaTown. This work is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

Cacao pods lie on the ground after harvesting. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Cacao pods lie on the ground after harvesting. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International

As the only event in the world celebrating the work of producers and the richness of expression of cocoa, a unique cocoa initiative is helping to further mutual awareness and reinforce collaborations between producers and chocolate makers.

Every two years, the Cocoa of Excellence Programme spearheaded by Bioversity International and Event International recognizes the quality, flavor and diversity of cocoas according to their origin, with the participation of countries that can directly present the fruits of their labors to chocolate makers and the press.

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for the International Cocoa Awards (ICA). It aims to increase awareness and promote education along the cocoa supply chain on the opportunity to produce high quality cocoa and preserve flavors resulting from genetic diversity, terroir and know-how of the farmers who prepare cocoa.

Cacao diversity is also vital for production, as it provides not only different flavors, but also resistance to pests and disease outbreaks, and resilience in changing climatic conditions. Providing opportunities and incentives for safeguarding diversity to farmers and national organizations ensures that a portfolio of options remain available for future needs.

Celebrating the shortlisted entrants at the 2017 International Cocoa Awards at the Salon du Chocolat. Photo by Bioversity International

Following the selection and evaluation of 166 cocoa samples submitted from 40 countries, the wait was finally over on Oct. 30, 2017, for the 50 entrants shortlisted for the 2017 Edition of the ICA. The 18 ICA winners were celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, shining an international spotlight on the work of cocoa farmers and cocoa diversity around the world.

“It is the highest reward for the Salon du Chocolat to be with Bioversity International at the origin of this unique program that gathered so many great and indisputable international experts in the world of cacao. Our initial wish was to create a direct link between chocolate makers and producers for reciprocal enrichment, in the qualitative aspects of chocolate and cocoa with all the benefits they entail,” said Francois Jeantet, Creator of the Salon du Chocolat.

“Today our wishes are fulfilled. A big thank you to all the team and all those that participate with passion,” he added.

“The program facilitates communication and linkages between the producers of this wonderful crop that is cocoa that delights the bean buyers and chocolate makers. This communication needs to be standardized so that all the actors along the value chain understand each other, from the farmers to the chocolate makers,” explained Brigitte Laliberté, Expert on Cacao Genetic Resources at Bioversity International.

“We are coordinating an effort on the development of international standards for the assessment of cocoa quality and flavor, for which we convened a consultation at the Salon just this morning,” Laliberté continued. “The meeting led to some very exciting group decisions and innovations in this important area.”

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for the International Cocoa Awards.

After a physical quality evaluation, the beans were carefully processed into liquor and untempered chocolate for blind sensory evaluation by a panel of international experts who are part of the Cocoa of Excellence Technical Committee.

Following the evaluation, the best 50 samples were selected and processed into tempered and molded chocolate (following the same recipe of 66 percent cocoa) for sensory evaluation by a broader panel of 41 chocolate professionals.

“Never before has there been such an assemblage of superb cocoas as we have had expressed as chocolates in these 2017 Edition of Cocoa of Excellence. The flavor evaluation has been both daunting as well as exhilarating. There is more outstanding flavor and diversity from more countries than ever before. The Technical Committee and the additional jury have performed superbly,” said Ed Seguine, Cacao Cocoa and Chocolate Advisors/Guittard Chocolate.

“We continue to believe that the Cocoa of Excellence as well as the International Cocoa Awards will shine the spotlight of flavors, craftsmanship and diversity on these farmers and bring real, meaningful value to them for their beans,” he added.

The 18 International Cocoa Awards for 2017 are:

Africa & the Indian Ocean

  • Ghana Simon Marfo – associated with Cocoa Abrabopa Association
  • Madagascar Mava Sa – Ferme D’ottange
  • Sierra Leone Sahr Bangura – associated with Kasiyatama
  • Tanzania Kokoa Kamili Limited

Asia, Pacific & Australia

  • Australia Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd
  • Hawaii Jeanne Bennett and Bruce Clements – Nine Fine Mynahs Estates
  • Hawaii University of Hawaii
  • India Regal plantations
  • Malaysia Teo Chun Hoon

Central America & Caribbean

  • Dominica Stewart Paris – Paris Family – associated with North East Cocoa Growers Cooperative
  • El Salvador José Eduardo Zacapa Campos
  • Guatemala Asociación Waxaquib Tzikin
  • Guatemala Mariel Ponce – Kacaou
  • Martinique Kora Bernabe and Elizabeth Pierre-Louis – associated with Valcaco – Association des Producteurs de Cacao de Martinique

South America

  • Bolivia Chocoleco
  • Brazil Emir De Macedo Gomes Filho
  • Ecuador Asociacion Quiroga
  • Peru Cooperativa Agraria APPROCAP Ltda.

Adapted from the press release originally published by Bioversity International. For more information, contact Ines Drouault at the Cocoa of Excellence Programme: i.drouault(at)cgiar.org.


The Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) Programme is the entry point for cocoa-producers to participate in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA). The programme is coordinated by Bioversity International, and jointly organized with Event International in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Guittard Chocolate, Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate, Barry Callebaut, Puratos and the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) with sponsorship from the European Cocoa Association (ECA), the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (Caobisco), the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC), Nestlé, the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Mars UK, Valrhona and with in-kind contributions from the Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (CRC/UWI), Valrhona, Weiss Chocolate and CocoaTown.

This work contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests for Trees and Agroforestry, supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

Cacao pods lie on the ground after harvesting. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Cacao pods lie on the ground after harvesting. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International

As the only event in the world celebrating the work of producers and the richness of expression of cocoa, a unique cocoa initiative is helping to further mutual awareness and reinforce collaborations between producers and chocolate makers.

Every two years, the Cocoa of Excellence Programme spearheaded by Bioversity International and Event International recognizes the quality, flavor and diversity of cocoas according to their origin, with the participation of countries that can directly present the fruits of their labors to chocolate makers and the press.

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for the International Cocoa Awards (ICA). It aims to increase awareness and promote education along the cocoa supply chain on the opportunity to produce high quality cocoa and preserve flavors resulting from genetic diversity, terroir and know-how of the farmers who prepare cocoa.

Cacao diversity is also vital for production, as it provides not only different flavors, but also resistance to pests and disease outbreaks, and resilience in changing climatic conditions. Providing opportunities and incentives for safeguarding diversity to farmers and national organizations ensures that a portfolio of options remain available for future needs.

Celebrating the shortlisted entrants at the 2017 International Cocoa Awards at the Salon du Chocolat. Photo by Bioversity International

Following the selection and evaluation of 166 cocoa samples submitted from 40 countries, the wait was finally over on Oct. 30, 2017, for the 50 entrants shortlisted for the 2017 Edition of the ICA. The 18 ICA winners were celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, shining an international spotlight on the work of cocoa farmers and cocoa diversity around the world.

“It is the highest reward for the Salon du Chocolat to be with Bioversity International at the origin of this unique program that gathered so many great and indisputable international experts in the world of cacao. Our initial wish was to create a direct link between chocolate makers and producers for reciprocal enrichment, in the qualitative aspects of chocolate and cocoa with all the benefits they entail,” said Francois Jeantet, Creator of the Salon du Chocolat.

“Today our wishes are fulfilled. A big thank you to all the team and all those that participate with passion,” he added.

“The program facilitates communication and linkages between the producers of this wonderful crop that is cocoa that delights the bean buyers and chocolate makers. This communication needs to be standardized so that all the actors along the value chain understand each other, from the farmers to the chocolate makers,” explained Brigitte Laliberté, Expert on Cacao Genetic Resources at Bioversity International.

“We are coordinating an effort on the development of international standards for the assessment of cocoa quality and flavor, for which we convened a consultation at the Salon just this morning,” Laliberté continued. “The meeting led to some very exciting group decisions and innovations in this important area.”

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for the International Cocoa Awards.

After a physical quality evaluation, the beans were carefully processed into liquor and untempered chocolate for blind sensory evaluation by a panel of international experts who are part of the Cocoa of Excellence Technical Committee.

Following the evaluation, the best 50 samples were selected and processed into tempered and molded chocolate (following the same recipe of 66 percent cocoa) for sensory evaluation by a broader panel of 41 chocolate professionals.

“Never before has there been such an assemblage of superb cocoas as we have had expressed as chocolates in these 2017 Edition of Cocoa of Excellence. The flavor evaluation has been both daunting as well as exhilarating. There is more outstanding flavor and diversity from more countries than ever before. The Technical Committee and the additional jury have performed superbly,” said Ed Seguine, Cacao Cocoa and Chocolate Advisors/Guittard Chocolate.

“We continue to believe that the Cocoa of Excellence as well as the International Cocoa Awards will shine the spotlight of flavors, craftsmanship and diversity on these farmers and bring real, meaningful value to them for their beans,” he added.

The 18 International Cocoa Awards for 2017 are:

Africa & the Indian Ocean

  • Ghana Simon Marfo – associated with Cocoa Abrabopa Association
  • Madagascar Mava Sa – Ferme D’ottange
  • Sierra Leone Sahr Bangura – associated with Kasiyatama
  • Tanzania Kokoa Kamili Limited

Asia, Pacific & Australia

  • Australia Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd
  • Hawaii Jeanne Bennett and Bruce Clements – Nine Fine Mynahs Estates
  • Hawaii University of Hawaii
  • India Regal plantations
  • Malaysia Teo Chun Hoon

Central America & Caribbean

  • Dominica Stewart Paris – Paris Family – associated with North East Cocoa Growers Cooperative
  • El Salvador José Eduardo Zacapa Campos
  • Guatemala Asociación Waxaquib Tzikin
  • Guatemala Mariel Ponce – Kacaou
  • Martinique Kora Bernabe and Elizabeth Pierre-Louis – associated with Valcaco – Association des Producteurs de Cacao de Martinique

South America

  • Bolivia Chocoleco
  • Brazil Emir De Macedo Gomes Filho
  • Ecuador Asociacion Quiroga
  • Peru Cooperativa Agraria APPROCAP Ltda.

Adapted from the press release originally published by Bioversity International. For more information, contact Ines Drouault at the Cocoa of Excellence Programme: i.drouault(at)cgiar.org.


The Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) Programme is the entry point for cocoa-producers to participate in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA). The programme is coordinated by Bioversity International, and jointly organized with Event International in partnership with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Guittard Chocolate, Seguine Cacao, Cocoa and Chocolate, Barry Callebaut, Puratos and the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) with sponsorship from the European Cocoa Association (ECA), the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (Caobisco), the Federation of Cocoa Commerce (FCC), Nestlé, the Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Mars UK, Valrhona and with in-kind contributions from the Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies (CRC/UWI), Valrhona, Weiss Chocolate and CocoaTown.

This work contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests for Trees and Agroforestry, supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Moving toward a sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana

Moving toward a sustainable cocoa sector in Ghana

Cacao pods are collected and heaped on the forest floor, where fermentation begins. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A farmer in Ghana prunes a Carabobo cacao tree, which is originally from Venezuela. Photo by R. Markham/Bioversity International

Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world and in recent years has emerged as the world’s principal supplier of Fairtrade-certified cocoa — about 6% of national production falls under that scheme. Multisector collaboration is needed to address persistent challenges and to support Ghana’s overall move to a sustainable cocoa sector.

The world’s favorite treat has never been more popular. In the past decade, the chocolate industry’s demand for cocoa has increased by 12% and production has barely been able to keep pace. Growing demand, particularly from emerging economies like China and India, is good news for the industry.

At the same time, about 6 million cocoa producers — more than 90% of them smallholders — face significant challenges: low productivity, poverty in the producing communities, and limited infrastructure to connect producers with buyers. Improved and diverse planting stock that can resist pest and diseases, thrive in poor soils and grow in changing climatic conditions is in short supply.

With an annual production of about 750,000 to 1 million tons, Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world. In recent years, Ghana has also emerged as the world’s principal supplier of Fairtrade-certified cocoa, with about 6% of national production falling under that scheme.

Yet a new report carried out for Fairtrade Africa by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International, supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), concludes that monetary benefits derived from Fairtrade cocoa remain low, contributing on average an additional 2% of cocoa income for certified farmers. At the same time, cooperatives use part of the Fairtrade Premium to provide their members with farming inputs and training, and to fund overall community development.

Read more: Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana: taking stock and looking ahead

Cacao pods are collected and heaped on the forest floor, where fermentation begins. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International

This relates to the fact that only part of the Fairtrade Premium of US$200 per ton is channeled through the cooperatives to the producers as a cash bonus (16 to 65% of the premium), while the remainder is given as farming inputs like fertilizers, agrochemicals and planting materials (up to 38%), or allocated to fund trainings, cooperative administration, and certification fees (20 to 84%) and overall community development (up to 15%).

One way that voluntary standards like Fairtrade try to empower producers is through the creation of new business organizations such as rural cooperatives. These efforts can go hand-in-hand with those of the cocoa industry, which supports farmers in rejuvenating their aging cocoa plantations.

For the cocoa sector to become sustainable, it will also be critical to attract younger farmers to become cacao producers, empowering them to generate enough income to sustain their families and communities. Rural cooperatives can support this aim but, as the report points out, increased membership of these organizations is only sustainable if sales under Fairtrade terms grow at least at the same rate, which is currently not happening.

The report also points at the importance of diversified production systems, allowing the farmers to be less reliant on cocoa as a principal source of income. Cacao can be planted together with other crops, in particular fruit and timber trees that provide shade for the young cacao saplings and help improve nutrition and income.

Cacao pods are seen on a tree in Ghana. Photo by J. Raneri/Bioversity International

Such diversification makes for more resilient production and livelihood systems. For example, a study* of the relationship between cocoa cultivation and the conservation of biological diversity found that “cacao farms with diverse shade have the potential to support greater local diversity and act as a more effective refuge for some tropical forest organisms than alternative lowland tropical crops, particularly annual crops and cattle pasture.”

The third main finding was that Fairtrade farmers have improved access to training compared to non-members — 99% of cooperative members reported having received training on good agricultural practices, such as pruning and replanting, versus 51% of non-members.

Still, average productivity on Fairtrade-certified farms is within the range of the national average and additional efforts are needed to increase cacao productivity.

Read also: Sweeter deals: Prospects for expanding Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana

Dietmar Stoian from Bioversity International, one of the authors of the study added: “This study provides Fairtrade International, the four recently Fairtrade-certified cocoa cooperatives sampled, and other stakeholders in Ghana’s cocoa sector with a baseline for future impact assessments. The indicators developed for household- and cooperative-level measurements point at potential areas of impact and allow for continuous improvement.”

“In a follow-up study in Ghana, we are now taking a broader look at the country’s move toward a sustainable cocoa sector by identifying the actual and potential role of impact investment, social lending and other responsible finance schemes and their interactions with diverse certification systems to ensure environmental and social impact in addition to financial returns.”

The report was well received by Fairtrade International, and their management’s response concludes that: “We recognize that the coops have many support needs and we agree that key challenges include growing sales, increasing cocoa productivity, supporting agricultural diversification, and strengthening of cooperatives to be able to achieve greater member engagement and gender equality.”

As a result of this study, Fairtrade International will be reviewing the Fairtrade Premium.

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International


The report Baseline for Assessing the Impact of Fairtrade Certification on Cocoa Farmers and Cooperatives in Ghana, jointly elaborated by the World Agroforestry Centre and Bioversity International, is based on data gathered from 422 households belonging to four Fairtrade-certified cooperative unions, and 80 households from non-certified cooperatives. Data was collected based on indicators from Fairtrade’s Theory of Change and the 5Capitals methodology for assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development developed by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the World Agroforestry Centre and Bioversity International.

This research is part of the CGIAR Research Programs on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors. We thank Transfair Germany and Fairtrade International for funding the project and the donors who support FTA and PIM through their contributions to the CGIAR Funds. We extend our gratitude to reviewers from Fairtrade International, the Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade Africa and Transfair Germany. We also appreciate the willingness of representatives of Cooperative Unions and Licensed Buying Companies COCOBOD, who generously shared their insights and experiences.

*Rice, R.A. and Greenberg, R., 2000. Cacao cultivation and the conservation of biological diversity. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 29 (3): 167-173.


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