The world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate Barry Callebaut is helping cocoa farmers in Indonesia to improve their sustainable farming practices and prosper through specialist training in agricultural practices and improving traceability by introducing teams of “field facilitators”. And on top of this, a new app designed to improve data collection and traceability is being rolled out in Indonesia.
Sulawesi-born agronomist Umar has been working with hundreds of other field facilitators and Barry Callebaut-employed trainers in the country for several years. The aim is to support smallholder farmers, many of whom live below the poverty line, by improving practices to improve quality, yield and become more sustainable. Support work also includes helping to replace aging cocoa trees with cocoa seedlings and nurseries programs.
He is in charge of the the UTZ program on the ground, Umar works with other field employees in the sustainability team to reach out to cocoa farmer communities in different parts of Indonesia and support the growing of sustainable cocoa.
UTZ certification shows consumers that products have been sourced, from farm to shop shelf, in a sustainable manner. To become certified, all UTZ suppliers have to follow a Code of Conduct, which offers expert guidance on better farming methods, working conditions and care for nature.
“In order to achieve greater success with our sustainability efforts, we need to constantly improve our growing techniques and feedback processes, using better tools to meet the farmers’ needs,” says Umar.
Barry Callebaut collaborates with other NGOs and confectionary producers through the UTZ program and says that growing certified cocoa is one of the most compelling tools that chocolate manufacturers can use to improve the lives of cocoa farmers. Today, UTZ certified cocoa is produced in 19 countries including Indonesia, and is the largest program for sustainable farming of cocoa in the world.
One major part of the UTZ program is that certified cocoa farmers are paid a fair and better price for producing quality beans. The higher the yield produced, the more the premiums the farmers receive.
More and more certified farmers in Indonesia are becoming better at important practices such as pruning and sanitation, pest and disease management, and fertilizer use. These farmers have also improved storage, handling and disposal of agrochemicals, and are equipped with personal protective equipment.
Better crops means more income and through the UTZ program Barry Callebaut field facilitators visit farming communities to help them grow better quality crops and also safeguard the environment.
In 2015 7,000 farmers from Polman and other cities in West Sulawesi received more than US$ 350,000 in premiums, in addition to their usual revenue. And last year, Barry Callebaut expanded its program to reach other cocoa-growing areas in Sulawesi and South Sumatra.
Most of the premiums are paid directly to the certified farmers, while the remainder is invested in projects to boost productivity, develop farms, and benefit the farmer community.
Last November Barry Callebaut launched a comprehensive sustainability strategy that addresses the key sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain called “Forever Chocolate.” It includes four targets the company expects to achieve by 2025 which address the biggest sustainability challenges in the chocolate supply chain: Eradicate child labor from its supply chain; Lift more than 500,000 cocoa farmers out of poverty; Become carbon and forest positive; Use 100% sustainable ingredients in all its products.
Recently, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group explained the company’s strategy.
“Our ambition is to move traceability from niche to norm, when it comes to chocolate. It’s a very ambitious goal that we cannot achieve just by ourselves. It needs to be done hand in hand with customers, governments and civil society as a whole. We are making great progress and it takes many forms. Right now, 26% of our non-cocoa raw materials are sustainably sourced,+6% above the target we had set ourselves for this year,” he said.
“We are making good progress, but are only at the start of a nine-year journey. But while we formalized and published our very ambitious plans last November, we have had a long tradition in sustainability, by investing in sustainable cocoa, farmers and child labor prevention. It is part of the genes of our company and we are not starting from scratch.”
Last June Barry Callebaut began its collaboration with SAP, the market leader in enterprise software to help enable sustainable cocoa farming, with the launch of an innovative cloud-based solution for cocoa bean traceability and better sustainability data management using solutions from SAP.
The mobile app Katchilè was first introduced by Barry Callebaut in Côte d’Ivoire and is now being rolled out in Indonesia to help improve data collection and farmers’ internal inspection.
The second phase of the launch will include the traceability process and provide field facilitators with the ability to tailor agriculture advice down to individual farm management plans.
The app enables traceability from the farmer to Barry Callebaut's warehouse and combines desktop and mobile access, which means it can be used even in the most remote of locations.
Since some cocoa farms in Indonesia are without stable mobile coverage, the app is designed to allow the field facilitator to collect data offline until it can access a network and the Katchilè app uses a cloud-based system that works independently of internet access which allows real-time updates from the different farmers that work with Barry Callebaut to reach field facilitators and coordinators like Umar.
The app records all information on farmers, their farms, communities and more which means farmer registration, cocoa buying, processing and transportation records help the traceability of cocoa beans from the farmer to Barry Callebaut’s warehouse.
The app is being piloted in Bantaeng and Lampung in Indonesia, where a growing number of farmers are enrolled in the UTZ certified programs with Barry Callebaut.