Cocoa Life brings sustainability to South Africa’s chocolate

Just as the Cadbury brothers did more than 100 years ago, the programme works on the ground, hand-in-hand with the men and women who grow the essential ingredients used to make Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates.

More than 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown by West African farmers, with Côte d’Ivoire accounting for just over 40% and Ghana around 20%. Most of the farms are family-owned and less than 2 ha in size.

Farmers struggle with productivity, with many farmers having seen their yields fall over the last few decades owing to a variety of factors, including farming being left to older members of the family as younger generations are drawn to the attractions of city life; farmers sticking to traditional farming methods; diseases which have ravaged cocoa plants; and the far-reaching implications of climate change.

When the programme was launched in 2012, Mondelēz International committed $400-million to Cocoa Life over ten years to help build a thriving cocoa supply chain.

Today, Cocoa Life grows opportunities for more than 142 000 cocoa farmers and 1 400 communities, Mondelēz says.

“Cocoa Life is on a long-term journey to create a vibrant, strong cocoa supply chain while growing opportunities that transform the lives and livelihoods of farmers and their communities. We believe that empowered, thriving cocoa communities are the essential foundation for sustainable cocoa,” says Amekudzi.

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The programme focuses on the areas where it can make the biggest difference, such as turning cocoa into a business of choice, creating inclusive and empowered communities and conserving and restoring forests.

It supports the farmers to grow more cocoa on less land, while the communities they live in are empowered to steer their own development.

Village saving and loan associations provide the opportunity for farmers, especially women, to use the funds for a range of investments, including the purchase of fertilisers, start-up capital for new businesses to secure additional streams of income, the expansion of existing businesses, starting new cocoa farms, rehabilitating old cocoa farms and hiring labourers.

By 2025, all Mondelēz International’s chocolate brands will source their cocoa through the programme.


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