DEERFIELD, ILL. — Mondelēz International announced its $400 million Cocoa Life program is fully operational in Indonesia, the world’s third largest cocoa producing country, trailing only Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. By the end of 2015, Mondelēz said it expects to have Cocoa Life operating in more than 100 Indonesian communities and will have trained 8,000 farmers in agricultural and business skills to help improve cocoa yields, protect the environment and boost farmer incomes. By 2022, Mondelēz expects the program to have trained 50,000 farmers.
The Cocoa Life program from Mondelēz has three principles. First, it seeks to empower farmers and communities. For the second principle, the company seeks to create partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations (N.G.O.s), supply chain partners and communities. Finally, Mondelēz aligns its cocoa sourcing so that the company’s partners along all of its supply chains support the sustainable cocoa approach.
“Cocoa Life is taking root in Indonesia because it’s focused on farmers,” said Andi Sitti Asmayanti, director of Cocoa Life for Southeast Asia. “Through Cocoa Life, we’re empowering farmers to create action plans with their communities and shape the future of cocoa. Together with the Indonesian government, our suppliers and partners, we’re helping cocoa-farming families create the kind of communities they want to live in, and inspiring the next generation.”
Cocoa Life is working with farmers in two Indonesian regions: Sulawesi and Sumatra. Along with suppliers Cargill and Olam, the program is focused on strengthening Indonesia’s position as a leading producer of sustainable cocoa.
The program also is partnering with the non-governmental organization Save the Children to help promote gender equality through leadership and business training for women in cocoa farming communities, as well as agricultural education for youth. Together, farming families will create Community Action Plans to achieve specific development outcomes, such as improving health and nutrition education.
“Save the Children knows when women and mothers do well, their children’s lives improve, too,” said Carolyn Miles, president and chief executive officer of Save the Children. “We believe our partnership with Cocoa Life will help parents in cocoa farming communities in Indonesia to have a sustainable income so they can provide for their children and give them the opportunity to reach their full potential.”Cocoa Life already is seeing results In Indonesia. Two years ago, a number of Indonesian farmers were abandoning cocoa for other cash crops as yields declined. Existing cocoa trees were aging, and there wasn’t sufficient infrastructure to support new plantings. Today, Cocoa Life’s partnership with the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute, Cargill and Olam has offered farmer inputs such as training, supplies and a new nursery so farmers have been able to continue growing cocoa and significantly boost their crop yields.