More than 9,500 cocoa farmers in Cameroon have received more than €1.4 million (US$1.57 million) in premium payments – the largest ever certification premium payments made for sustainable cocoa in the country – under the Cargill Cocoa Promise.
These payments directly reflect the growing appetite of customers for certified cocoa products and appreciation for the efforts undertaken by cocoa farmers in Cameroon to become more professional and achieve certification.
While Cargill as part of the joint venture Telcar has been training cocoa farmers in Cameroon since 2011, the Cargill Cocoa Promise efforts on the ground have become more advanced in the last year training nearly 21,000 cocoa farmers at over 600 farmer field schools and building 11 boreholes for local communities to increase access to potable drinking water.
By working through these programs, farmers strive for improved profitability and productivity. Another 10,000 new farmers are expected to undergo this training in 2016/2017 and a further eight local communities have been identified for new borehole projects.
The premium payments are made to certified farmer cooperatives with 50% going directly to individual members, and the remainder being invested in projects that boost productivity or farm development for the farmer organisation or projects that will benefit the wider community.
For Cameroon this has so far included boreholes, 100 scholarships, 10 cassava grinding machines for women’s groups and credit/discount schemes for crop protection products.
The premiums and ceremonies are an incentive for farmers to adopt good agricultural practices and to directly support and influence improvements that will make a difference to their own communities.
The premiums are paid by Telcar/Cargill to farmers but represent a contribution from Cargill’s customers that purchase certified products globally.
“It is exciting to see the development of the cocoa sector in Cameroon and the significant progress that has been made so far,” says Lionel Soulard, regional MD Africa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate.
“With the significant buy-in and demand from our customers for certified cocoa our long-term goal is to contribute to a thriving cocoa sector for farmers and their communities.”
“To make this happen, we have set up the right support, tools and training to help farmers and communities improve their livelihoods and contribute to professionalising the coops.”
“Only when farmers take their own destiny in their own hands will we have a truly sustainable cocoa sector.”