Boost for Cameroonian cocoa sector
Over 9,500 cocoa farmers in Cameroon have received more than £1.2m (CFA 958m) 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 percent 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. Premiums are paid by Telcar/Cargill to farmers but represent a contribution from Cargill’s customers that purchase certified products globally.
To continuously increase the reach and impact of the company’s programme in Cameroon, a key priority of the Cargill Cocoa Promise is to further develop and professionalise farmer organisations. These organisations are extraordinary multipliers to promote good agricultural practices and behavioural change in rural areas.
In March 2016, the Cargill Coop Academy was established in Cameroon, based on the highly successful model in Cote d’Ivoire. The Academy provides business education and is on target to train over 900 executives from 227 farmer organisations over four years. Since its March inception, 60 cooperatives have participated and their leaders have started the 28-day intensive curriculum and yearlong personalised one-on-one coaching. This represents a significant step towards professionalisation of farmer organisations in Cameroon.
Speaking on behalf of Telcar, Madame Kate says: “Farmer organisations are critical to accelerating our outreach in Cameroon. By empowering these organisations, supporting training in business skills and strengthening their business operations, we can help progress this sector for the future.”
Speaking on behalf of Cargill, Lionel Soulard, regional managing director Africa, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate adds: “It is exciting to see the development of the cocoa sector in Cameroon and the significant progress that has been made so far. 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.”
Cameroon is the fourth largest producer of cocoa beans globally and it is critical that we contribute and help build a sustainable and thriving cocoa sector for farmers and their communities.