7 Jul 2020
“My cocoa plantation is 8 km from my house. Before the coronavirus, people from the village took me on their motorbikes to get to my plantation. Now because of the pandemic I have to walk almost 8 km on foot.” (Amon Guiro Béatrice – Cacao-Trace farmer – 55 years old, single mother of five children).
These are the words of Béatrice, one of our Cacao-Trace farmers in Ivory Coast. Today, Covid-19 has become an extra challenge for the cocoa farmer community worldwide. The stories of Béatrice, Adama and Yoplo, and all 1602 members of the Cacao-Trace farmer community in Ivory Coast, help us to better understand how the impact of the crisis is real. And how they are all concerned about what the future might still bring. “Imagine for a moment this disease still lasts for a long time and the confinement is total. My fear is that people will die, much more from hunger than from Coronavirus disease.” (Yoplo Jean – Cacao-Trace farmer in Grand-Grëleon village, region of San Pedro in Ivory Coast – father of six children).
No matter how challenging these times may be, Belcolade and Puratos are committed to stand by our Cacao-Trace farmers. It’s our close relationship with the people on the ground that has helped us to identify how we can have the biggest impact on the situation.
Our unique international network of Post-harvest Centers, key in the creation of superior tasting sustainable chocolate, now also allows us to have an important impact on this situation. Despite the expected decrease in chocolate demand due to Covid-19, we keep our centers open and maintain the cocoa sourcing volume commitment. Béatrice explains how important this is for the community, and how this makes a crucial difference in their lives today: “As the Cacao-Trace Post-harvest Center stays open, I don’t have to worry about getting my cocoa beans sold. Other farmers in the village, who are not in the CT programme, experience serious difficulties. Their regular buyers tell them that because of the Coronavirus, there is no money to buy. Since the disease started, they have closed their stores. I feel really privileged to be a Cacao-Trace farmer. I’m very happy to be part of the programme.”
As always, Cacao-Trace farmers receive their quality premium on top of the farmgate price upon delivery of their wet beans. In these crisis times, we are convinced it is crucial that this vital source of income for the farmer community is guaranteed. “After our deliveries to the center, we are paid on the spot and we will have the financial means to do the shopping for purchases. Today, if the center would be closed due to this disease, we farmers will have nothing to eat.“ (Nebie Adama – Cacao-Trace farmer – 46 years old – father of five children)
In order to protect our community of farmers and fermenters, we also do our part to raise awareness on how people can prevent the virus from spreading. As Adama explains, our strong local network is an effective channel to provide people with the correct information about how to fight the virus: “I dare to say that, in addition to the messages broadcast on television and radio, it is the frequent visits of the Cacao-Trace mentors that has allowed us and our families to fully understand the situation.”
The work on the cocoa plantations is allowed to continue safely as social distancing can easily be applied, and the risk of spreading the virus while working there is very low.
In order to protect our farmers against Covid-19, we have installed protective measures and guidelines. Belcolade and Puratos are committed to provide all farmers with protective masks, soap and buckets for handwashing. “Cacao-Trace has acted swiftly by sharing information on protective measures. Awareness-raising took place, supported by posters with drawings explaining the protective measures mentioned. We salute Puratos for these actions. The sanitary kits we received allow us to protect ourselves against this disease at home as well as in our plantation. (Yoplo Jean – Cacao-Trace farmer in the Grand-Grëleon village, region of San Pedro in Ivory Coast – father of six children).
One of the cornerstones of the Cacao-Trace programme is the Chocolate Bonus. For each kg of chocolate sold, 10ct€ bonus is paid back to the farmer community. This approach is made possible thanks to the quality focus of the programme (sharing the value of high-quality cocoa beans). No matter how much volume will be sold this year, Belcolade and Puratos are committed to keep the bonus at least at the same level as 2019. The decrease in chocolate demand will not have an impact on this amount.
Through our close Cacao-Trace network we are able to keep on monitoring the situation carefully. Depending on how the crisis evolves, we are prepared to take extra measures and provide medication, food and financial support. The measures towards farmers will all be financed by Puratos through the Next Generation Cacao Foundation.
The purpose of the Cacao-Trace programme has always been to have a sustainable impact on the quality of life of our farmer community worldwide. During this crisis, we want to live up to that promise more than ever. Want to get more insights in the Cacao-Trace farmer community in Ivory Coast. Discover the story of Béatrice and other Cacao-Trace farmers
With Cacao-Trace, Belcolade and Puratos installed a game-changing approach to truly sustainable cocoa sourcing. While the chocolate industry traditionally approaches sustainability through increasing productivity, Cacao-Trace sets itself apart by focusing on exceptional taste. We are convinced this is the only way to create real extra value for the farmers.
Next to high-quality beans (for which we extensively train a large community of already more than 8000 farmers), the key to creating superior tasting chocolate is in the fermentation. It unleashes the full flavour potential of the cocoa beans. Thanks to our unique international network of post-harvest centers, we are able to fully control this process and benefit from our proven fermentation expertise in sourdough and enzymes. As we speak, our local post-harvest centers are already launched in six different cocoa producing countries: Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Philippines, Mexico, Uganda and Papua New Guinea.
We reward our farmers with a sustainable extra revenue for their superior quality cocoa beans, by guaranteeing a quality premium price. On top, a unique Chocolate Bonus of 10ct € is paid back to the farmer community for each kg of chocolate sold. Belcolade and Puratos take care of all the structural costs, which guarantees that 100% of this Chocolate Bonus ends up in the farmer’s hands. This means a 3 to 4 months additional income in some countries. Which is lifechanging for cocoa farmers!
Want to contribute to building a better future for cocoa farmers, through superior tasting chocolate? #Relyonus and join the Cacao-Trace community. More info here.