… Implementation of Innovative Cocoa Sustainability Programme underway
. As Zowasel, Barry Callebaut Support Smallholder Farmers
Cocoa Farmers may soon heave a sigh of relief, as efforts are underway to implement innovative cocoa sustainability programmes to support smallholder farmers across the country.
The gesture, courtesy of Zowasel, an agricultural technology company leveraging data science and technology to improve productivity, sustainability, and profitability for farmers across value chains, in partnership with Barry Callebaut – producers of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, covers commercial agreements and the Cocoa Horizons sustainability programme.
According to experts, despite the growing global demand for Nigerian cocoa, smallholder farmers in Nigeria are struggling to sustain and profit from the plantation, due to old cocoa plantations, declining yields, poor farming practices, and volatile cocoa prices that have worsened farming households’ food insecurity and poverty.
The partnership aims to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, their communities, and the planet by promoting sustainable farming practices, gender and nutrition programmes, entrepreneurial farming, and landscape protection.
Speaking on the partnership, the Managing Director of Barry Callebaut Nigeria, Adriaan Verbeke, said sustainability is at the heart of their business model and values. “We are proud to partner with Zowasel, a disruptive company in supply chain sustainability innovations, to promote professional and sustainable cocoa farming across Nigeria. This innovative partnership will help drive the implementation and impact of our cocoa sustainability initiatives.
The company has committed that by 2025, its products will use 100 per cent sustainable “carbon and forest-positive” ingredients, which means the products retain more carbon than released. The company is committed to sustainable cocoa production to help ensure continuous cocoa supplies and improve farmers’ livelihoods.
According the CEO of Zowasel, Jerry OCHE, “you don’t often get multinationals like Barry Callebaut to partner with startups to innovate and challenge the status quo that will shape the future of sustainability and global supply chain. It’s a huge validation and opportunity for us, and we would surely make it count..”
Before now, Zowasel has opened several remote crop centre infrastructures in key cocoa-producing communities across Ondo, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom states, deploying agronomists and sustainability experts to the field to work and collect data from farmers, evaluate agricultural practices, offer free sustainability training programmes, and farm inputs recommendations to farmers.