June 21, 2013
AMSTERDAM/ZURICHCocoa manufacturer Barry Callebaut initiated the largest sustainable cocoa program, in collaboration with Rainforest Alliance, by training approximately 1,000 farmers from five cooperatives in Cameroon on sustainable cocoa production practices.
In just 10 months, the trainees became Rainforest AllianceCertifiedTM, which marks the first time cocoa farmer cooperatives and non-buying groups in Cameroon have achieved the independently verified Rainforest Alliance certification.
On June 6, 2013, Barry Callebaut rewarded the cooperatives and farmers for their successful efforts. Farmers, cooperative management representatives, local area officials and delegates from government ministries participated in the ceremony hosted by SIC Cacaos, Barry Callebauts subsidiary in Cameroon.
The certification standard includes economic, social and environmental criteria, and training is a vital step towards achieving sustainable cocoa production in Cameroon," said Aurelie Oberti, project coordinator for Cocoa Horizons. "Were pleased to collaborate with Rainforest Alliance trainers in this process and to help the pioneering cooperatives to reach their ambitious sustainability goals."
In addition to training the farmers in sustainable agricultural practices, Barry Callebaut helped the farmer groups to achieve cooperative status.
The aim is to strengthen the capacity of the farmer organizations, and ultimately increase the number of farmers benefiting from the sustainability initiative. We are proud that the former farmer groups are now formally organized as certified cooperatives," Oberti said.
The commitment in Cameroon is part of Cocoa Horizons and Barry Callebauts global cocoa sustainability initiative, which has an ultimate goal of showing farmers how good agricultural and environmental practices can increase yield and preserve the environment, Simplice Koné, project manager of Cocoa Horizons Cameroon, said.
The Rainforest Alliance certification standard is based upon 10 principle covering economic, social and environmental aspects of farming and farm management. These aspects include the protection of natural resources, the management of waste and the recycling back into the farm of organic waste, the management of chemical inputs such as fertilizer and pesticide and the provision of social measures such as access to schools and health care for the farmers and workers children and families.
Barry Callebaut shifted its entire production to sustainable cocoa in May 2012 through its "Growing Great Chocolate" campaign.
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