A global leader in cocoa and chocolate manufacturing, Barry Callebaut, has unveiled its ‘Farm of the Future‘ project to power research and innovation in cocoa production.
The project is situated on a 640-hectare property in Ecuador’s Cerecita Valley, between the city of Guayaquil and the Pacific Ocean.
A press release obtained by Cocoa Post said operations and infrastructure development will start immediately with the planting of cocoa seedlings on the farm’s 400 hectares of non-planted land.
Explaining the choice of country, the company observed that Ecuador is a country with a deep knowledge of agricultural production, rooted in crops as diverse as coffee and banana, and shrimps.
The firm added that, in the world of chocolate, the South American country is the world’s third-largest cocoa producer and one of the fastest-growing cocoa origins, as well as the largest global producer of fine flavour cocoa.
“Combined with our long-established expertise in innovation and sustainability, Ecuador is the perfect match for Barry Callebaut to build a dedicated hub to power cocoa farming research to support cocoa farming resilience and productivity,” it stated.
Ideal testing and proving ground
In addition to achieving bean variety, agronomics research at the Farm of the Future also seeks to test resilient farming techniques, pre-and post-harvest processes, fermentation control, diversification of income, and improved cost control.
According to the company, the research endeavour ultimately aims “to establish the best cocoa farming practices that are climate-smart and enhance sustainability and farm profitability. Once the farm is fully operational, it aims to employ approximately 80 people from the local area.”
Inline with Forever Chocolate
It added that new findings from ‘Farm of the Future’ will further help support its research and feed into Farm Services program, reaching cocoa farmers of all origins in Barry Callebaut’s supply chain.
“This supports our goal to secure and improve farmers’ livelihoods by increasing the value of their cocoa through improved quality and higher yield,” the statement noted.
“Our Farm of the Future aims to be a contributor to the global movement on food system innovation. The establishment of this hub is a valuable vehicle for providing new opportunities for sustainable cocoa farming, innovation, and research,” Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer, Global Head of Gourmet said.
The company believes technology and innovation are key to the future of food system evolution, providing opportunities for improving farmer productivity and resilience, combating climate change, and reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.
Referencing these credentials, the chocolate maker underscored “the farm is a natural extension of our research expertise to address the question: how can we support cocoa farmers to farm with the future in mind?”
“With the opening of Farm of the Future, Barry Callebaut is further strengthening its cocoa farming research capabilities for the benefit of cocoa yield, sustainability, and quality,” Steven Retzlaff, President Global Cocoa emphasised.
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