Global snacking giant, Mondelēz International and Olam, a leading supplier of cocoa beans and cocoa ingredients, have teamed up to create a 2000-hectare sustainable commercial cocoa farm in Indonesia.
The world’s single largest commercial cocoa farm project is aimed to strengthen sustainable cocoa sourcing in Indonesia.
Model of the Future
The chocolate giant and the largest cocoa supplier see their project as a model of the future to restore environmental productivity, improve farmer livelihoods and empower local communities.
The model builds on Mondelēz International’s experience with the company’s signature sustainable sourcing program, Cocoa Life, and Olam’s ambition for sustainable cocoa, Cocoa Compass, to test a scalable approach for the future of commercial cocoa farming.
Hi-Tech sustainable production
“From sensors in fields to irrigation systems, the project will use advanced climate smart and plant science technology – rarely used to grow cocoa at this scale – as innovations included in this 2,000-hectare cocoa farm on Seram, the largest island in Maluku province in Indonesia. The model tests a modernised and professional blueprint for best practice cocoa farming, optimal land usage and farming community planning which will be explored as a potential model for replication across the region”, a statement by Mondelez International explained.
The move is said to be in response to the growing demand for cocoa across Asia, touted to soon become the second-largest consuming region of cocoa ingredients in the world.
Indonesia is a key cocoa-producing country in the region, but farmers have struggled with rising temperatures, low yields and crop disease.
“Combining their respective expertise in cocoa-growing research and development, sustainable cocoa farm management, and good agricultural practices, Mondelēz International and OFI will tackle these problems by improving the livelihoods of partner cocoa farmers, empowering communities and restoring the environmental productivity of a previously deforested landscape,” the statement further noted.
The project is to create 700 jobs for local residents in an area with nearly half of the jobs going to women.
Some 2,000 hectares of previously deforested brownfield land, is to be planted with cocoa, shade trees, forest and fruit trees to promote biodiversity and carbon capture.
More than 1,080 hectares have already been planted across the total plantation area of 3,380 hectares, while an area of 47 hectares identified as High Conservation Value forest and is being fully protected as a vital habitat for flora and fauna.
The Mondelez and Olam commercial cocoa farm project also comes with a seedling nursery that has the capacity to grow up to one million high-yielding cocoa seedlings each year.
What is said to become the world’s single largest commercial cocoa farm would offer access to healthcare and education for all employees and their families, as well as housing, electricity, water, and a daycare facility for the 200 families who live on site.
“As one of the world’s leading chocolate makers, we’re on a mission to make cocoa right and to secure a sustainable future for an ingredient essential to our business. With nine years of measurable impact demonstrating improved farmer’s livelihoods and reduced environmental impact of cocoa farming through our signature sustainable sourcing program, Cocoa Life, we’re excited to leverage our know-how in a collaborative approach to sustainable raw material sourcing with a geographically customized solution,” Quentin Roach, SVP Supply Chain & Chief Procurement Officer, Mondelēz International commented.
“Creating opportunities to innovate, in partnership with our suppliers, and exploring the ability to scale high-yielding, forest-positive, income-generating approaches to commercial cocoa farming on the single largest farm of its kind offers attractive potential and is an important step forward on our journey to lead the future of a sustainable and resilient cocoa supply,” Roach, continued
“This initiative sits alongside Mondelēz International’s existing Cocoa Life program in Indonesia and our cocoa crop science technical center in Pasuruan, established to support sustainable cocoa farming practices and drive positive change for farmers and communities in the region,” Roach, added
“This could be truly game-changing for the future of cocoa in Indonesia and beyond. We would like to thank the regional and national governments of Indonesia for their support. Ever since we launched our first sustainability program in the country more than 16 years ago, we have been committed to supporting Indonesian cocoa farmers while also protecting the environment”, Gerard A. Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa, noted.
“We reaffirmed this commitment through our acquisition in 2019 of the country’s largest cocoa processor, BT Cocoa, to connect the full supply chain from cocoa beans to cocoa ingredients. We’re now combining our expertise and knowledge with Mondelēz International, a steward of some of the world’s most iconic snack and chocolate brands”, Manley, further observed.
“Having just announced the achievement of our 2020 sustainability goals, we believe this partnership is a further significant step towards our Cocoa Compass ambition to have a positive impact on the future of cocoa”, Gerard A. Manley, CEO of Olam Cocoa, said.
We’re proud to announce our partnership w/ @Olam Cocoa to create the world’s largest sustainable commercial #cocoa farm in Asia—a 2K hectare farm that will aim to strengthen cocoa sourcing in #Indonesia & serve as a model for the future of cocoa farming! https://t.co/gvBW9FRtYs pic.twitter.com/TzTD46vBO7
— Mondelēz Intl (@MDLZ) April 21, 2021
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