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Voice of Cocoa

African Cocoa Marketplace to ensure Africa wins from Cocoa Trade

African Cocoa Marketplace, Inc. (ACM), a new ethical cocoa trade company, has been launched to offer marketing and qualitative assurance solutions for African cocoa products and services.

A press release copied to Cocoa Post said ACM puts farmers’ perspectives at the centre of the procurement process to enable them to achieve more secure business relationships and greater respect as the women and men at the heart of the chocolate value chain.

Still under “agile development,” the platform was introduced to industry stakeholders at the recent Amsterdam Cocoa Week conference, where it was hailed as a “fantastic resource for linking markets, farmers, producer organisations, and cocoa operators.”

The African Cocoa Marketplace was founded by Dr. Kristy Leissle, a cocoa expert, who has been working as a cocoa consultant, scholar, educator, writer, and marketer for nearly twenty years.

Having spent a good portion of her career as a field researcher on cocoa farms across Africa – especially Ghana, where she lived for four years – Kristy said she has met countless farmers, traders, processors, and chocolate makers doing their best to maintain Africa’s cocoa excellence.

She also stated that it is “really, really challenging for these women and men to show that excellence to buyers.”

She founded ACM, which has been in development for the past year, “to build upon her learnings of how to achieve authentic visibility into African cocoa value chains, and transform that knowledge into a business that could scale and create a new model for cocoa trust and tradeability.”

With more value added to “responsible procurement” in the cocoa sector, the ACM pilot platform can help shape the future of cocoa trading by de-commoditizing cocoa and making the procurement process more transparent so that farmers have a greater share in revenue from the sale of their beans.

The platform pilot is open to Africa-based suppliers of cocoa, semi-finished products, chocolate, and other value-added products and buyers of cocoa and cocoa products in different locations.

Benjamin Setor Gbadago, who leads ACM’s storytelling, research, and social media, said “While developing the app, we had to confront the issue of transparency. We are trying to understand as much as possible what the supply chain is like for the farmers as well as buyers.”

Gbadago asserted, “The problem is farmers have to provide all kinds of documentation to show proof of due diligence, but buyers rarely do. But the situation we are dealing with is a global challenge. Everyone should have to offer transparency.”

“We want to make it possible for producer organisations to connect with as many buyers as possible, and transact business in a way that supports their vision.

We also want to make it possible for buyers and brands looking for a particular sort of bean aligned with their brand message to find the right type of supplier,” he added.

Patrons would have to install the African Cococa Marketplace’s mobile app to take advantage of the seamless cocoa trade opportunity it offers both producers and buyers.

“Simply, you can type in a few keywords into our app, and find the kind of cocoa producer who aligns with your brand. Then, you can negotiate a fair and transparent price for both parties, with the added value that cocoa beans are fully compliant with all the regulations and are totally sustainable,” Gbadaga explained.

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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