Cargill: First cocoa co-operatives receive UTZ Certification

Amsterdam / NL. (cg) Two cocoa producing farmer co-operatives in Cote d´Ivoire have become the first to be certified under the «UTZ Certified» cocoa sustainability program. The two co-operatives – Co-operative Agricole de Fiedifoue and Coopaga – received the first UTZ Certified cocoa certificates after working with Cargill and Solidaridad, both founding members of the UTZ Certified cocoa program alongside others in the cocoa sector. The intensive eight month program trained 1’590 farmers in responsible and sustainable agriculture practices, building on the work with cocoa farmers that Cargill has been undertaking in West Africa for many years. The certifications were completed following independent audits and are awarded on an annual basis. The first UTZ Certified sustainable cocoa will be available by the end of 2009.

The aim of the UTZ Certified Cocoa Program is to ensure good agricultural, environmental and social practices in cocoa production. It enables small-scale farmers to improve their farming practices, thereby producing a higher quality crop with increased productivity. Farmers benefit from a higher income based on the principle «a better price for a better product» and participants throughout the supply chain can demonstrate their commitment to responsible sourcing of sustainably produced cocoa.

Harold Poelma, Managing Director of Cocoa, Cargill Cocoa + Chocolate says: «For many years we have run training programs for farmers believing it is the best way to bring sustainability – in all senses of the word – into the supply chain. This certification endorses our belief in the importance of sustainable agricultural practices and is a great achievement by the farmers and the co-operatives. We are delighted».

Cargill partnered with international development organization, Solidaridad, on this project, and was also supported by IDH, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative that creates firm coalitions between market parties and social partners in order to expand sustainable trade chains and to make significant steps toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Yao Konan, General Secretary of the Fiedifoue Co-op, says: «Since we have been in the certification process we can see a real change when we visit the cocoa farms. Trees are healthier and farms cleaner; the farmers not certified can see the benefits of better farming practices and increased productivity, and they too now want to be enrolled».

Daan de Vries, UTZ Certified Program Manager Cocoa, comments: «This is an exciting first step towards mainstream certified cocoa trade. We are thrilled to be working with such a dedicated group of partners and look forward to scaling up the program to support more small-scale farmers in the coming months and years».

About: Cargill Cocoa + Chocolate offers the food industry a wide range of both standard and customized cocoa and chocolate ingredients to be used in delicious bakery, confectionery, and dairy applications all over the world. The product range includes cocoa powders, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. With years of experience in technical food expertise Cargill supports its customers in new recipes and new product development The processing plants in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cote d´Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, the Netherlands, UK and the USA are fully dedicated to produce in accordance with the highest food safety standards. To secure a good quality and sustainable supply of cocoa beans Cargill has its own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and exporting of cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d´Ivoire, Indonesia and Vietnam. Presence in all the leading producing countries allows Cargill to oversee the supply chain from beans at origin to cocoa and chocolate products on the customers´ doorstep.

About: UTZ Certified Good Inside is dedicated to creating an open and transparent marketplace for agricultural products. Founded in 2002, UTZ Certified has been an innovative pioneer in the field of certification and traceability of coffee supply chains. Based on this success, it is developing sustainability models for other sectors, such as cocoa, tea and palm oil. UTZ Certified has a strategic partnership with development organization Solidaridad, creating a producer support network and improvement program that addresses the economic, environmental and social needs of the producer and facilitates quality and volume needed by the market. The program provides brands and retailers with a tool to incorporate and credibly demonstrate responsible sourcing practices. UTZ is an associate member of the ISEAL Alliance.