London, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Washington DC – Marking the close of its first formal season and now working alongside over 41,900 farmers, GrowCocoa, the independently operated joint venture representing the sustainability interests of Blommer Chocolate Company and Olam International, today released its first report outlining accomplishments in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia.
Formalised as a joint venture in 2012 after a decade of collaboration and shared investment of over US$25 million, the Washington DC-based GrowCocoa ensures the continued and regular engagement with for and not-for-profit and national and international institutions that share the sustainability and livelihoods vision of Blommer and Olam.
As North America’s largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier, Blommer first collaborated with Olam International, the leading global agri-business supplier, in Indonesia in 2004. With the aim of improving quality and livelihoods the two companies established the SAFOB (Sulawesi Alliance of Farmer Olam & Blommer) programme. From 2,000 farmers, the network has quickly grown to over 15,100 today. The programme’s success resulted in recognition from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the appointment as the cocoa-implementing partners for the Agribusiness Market & Support Activity (AMARTA). Between 2006 and 2011, independently verified data showed that many farmers’ yields doubled as they gained direct access to exporters with the establishment of 11 Blommer/Olam upcountry buying centres.*
During this period, the partnership expanded to Côte d’Ivoire with the start of the CIFOB (Côte d’Ivoire Farmers Olam & Blommer) programme. Starting with just 6 cooperatives and 2,400 farmers, the network has increased to 87 cooperatives and over 26,800 farmers in just seven years.
Since inception, the partnership has ensured improved access to healthcare for >29,000 community members. So far the social infrastructure projects have included two dispensaries, a maternity ward, a medical laboratory, and three schools offering 450 children access to education.
Now centralised under GrowCocoa, the partnership is pleased to share the following highlights for the 2012-2013 season:
- 31,600 farmers trained in Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Pest Management
- 329 cooperative managers trained in efficient budgeting and cost control systems, administration, documentation and archiving
- 564,000 seedlings distributed
- Purchase volume of over 54,000 metric tonnes
- US$9.1M in premiums awarded to farmers and farmer associations
Commenting on the results, the venture’s Programme Director, Kevin Wilkins added, “By bringing together the combined skills, investment and commitment of Blommer and Olam through GrowCocoa these results demonstrate how we have been able to improve cocoa yields and quality, as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and their communities.
To download the report, please visit www.GrowCocoa.com.
Follow GrowCocoa on Twitter @GrowCocoa.
The report was released and made available in Santo Domingo at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) partnership meeting and trade fair. Both members of WCF, GrowCocoa’s founders and partners, Blommer and Olam participate across a range of industry led and coordinated programs to include the first and second phases of the Cocoa Livelihoods Program, Africa Cocoa Initiative, ECHOES alliance and more.
Note to Editors: *Denotes results of January 2011 AMARTA programme survey