Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sustainable cocoa production is a collective responsibility

How can we make cocoa production more sustainable? And how can we make scientific innovations better available to the growers in the field? These were only some of the questions discussed at this year’s World Cocoa Conference in Berlin.

At the World Cocoa Conference (WCC) held from April 22 to 25 in Berlin, and organized by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), almost 1,500 participants from more than 65 countries came together, ranging from smallholder cocoa farmers to trading companies, and from government ministers to agricultural suppliers and distributors. A team from Bayer was also present to meet with stakeholders, exchange knowledge with participants, and showcase how Food Chain Partnership and BayG.A.P. support cocoa growers around the world.

Stephan Brunner speaking about better facilitating the transfer of science to farmers at the World Cocoa Conference

New vision of the cocoa sector introduced in Berlin

In the Berlin Declaration, the final declaration of the conference, the delegates stated that business as usual is no longer an option. A sustainable cocoa sector is a collective responsibility, it was argued, and all stakeholders must work together to achieve this ambitious goal.

A good example of close cooperation is the MOAYÉ initiative in the Ivory Coast, which supports farmers in increasing productivity, producing high-quality cocoa, and being more profitable. The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with an annual output of more than 1.5 million tons. But farmers in the West African country are facing several challenges: the costs of establishing a stable certification process and the know-how needed to guarantee good agricultural practices are enormous.

This is where Food Chain Partnership really makes a difference. A key feature of the initiative in the Ivory Coast were training sessions on the safe use of crop protection products, application technology, integrated pest management (IPM), and traceability. BayG.A.P. certification support is another service offered to support farmers in achieving the high standards required by their off-takers.

Supporting growers and making cocoa production more sustainable is a collective responsibility.

“Partnering is key to innovation”

“Farmers have a fundamental role to play in global food security,” said Stephan Brunner, Global Key Relation Manager at Bayer, who presented the successful partnership in the Ivory Coast. In his presentation, he also talked about how Bayer can better facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise gained through science to the farmers – because it’s the farmers who implement these innovations. “And partnering is the key to bringing innovation to them,” added Stephan Brunner.

So far, Bayer has trained more than 300 operators in the safe use of crop protection products, environmental responsibility, and how to establish better links to market their harvest. Soon, Bayer will extend the scope of their initiative to reach more countries in Western and Central Africa – making the whole cocoa sector more sustainable and making it easier for farmers to access innovative technologies.

“It’s our mission to implement initiatives tailored to meeting local market needs,” said Stephan Brunner. “The World Cocoa Conference proved that other stakeholders along the food chain have the same goal, and by working together we can maximize the benefits for the farmers.”

These articles might also be of interest:
Capacity Building in Europe, Africa, and Asia
BayG.A.P. goes online!

Bayer Division Crop Science

Food Chain Partnership
Phone: +49 2173 38 48 28
Fax: +49 2173 38 33 83

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