Sustainable cocoa from West Africa

More and more confectionery in Germany is made from sustainably produced cocoa – a trend that augurs well for cocoa farmers and their families.

Chocolate and other cocoa-based products are a firm favourite with consumers. Today, confectionery manufactured using sustainably farmed cocoa accounts for around 45 per cent of the German sweets market – that’s around 15 times more than five years ago. And it’s good news for the cocoa producers. Sustainably produced cocoa provides greater income security and is better for the environment.

An initiative that aims to increase the share of sustainably produced cocoa in West Africa – the region where Germany sources around 80 per cent of its raw cocoa – is driven by the same incentive. The Sustainable Cocoa Forum aims to improve living conditions for cocoa farmers and their families and to conserve natural resources in the producing countries.

The forum, which was founded in 2012, is the winner of this year’s ZEIT WISSEN ‘Encouraging Sustainability’ award and was the beacon project in the German Government’s Sustainability Strategy in 2016. The forum involves more than 70 stakeholders, including the German Government, the confectionery industry and food companies as well as civil society organisations. The secretariat coordinating the initiative’s activities is located at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Amongst its many activities, the forum is supporting further training measures for cocoa farmers in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria. To date, around 100,000 cocoa farmers have received training in sustainable production methods. And their participation has paid off: after just one year, they were able to increase their harvests by 30 to 50 per cent in comparison with the previous year. Furthermore, more than 90 per cent of the participants were subsequently certified under one or more of the three sustainability standards, i.e. Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance Certified or UTZ Certified.

In addition to the Sustainable Cocoa Forum, GIZ is engaged worldwide in several other rural development projects. In West Africa alone, GIZ assisted more than one million farmers to increase their incomes in the period between 2010 and 2015. Moreover, more than two million hectares of land are now being farmed more sustainably.

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