Last year, Blommer Chocolate Co. and Olam International decided to formally join together to create a sustainability program called GrowCocoa.

Marking the close of its first formal season and now working alongside more than 41,900 farmers, GrowCocoa, today released its first report outlining accomplishments in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia in the 2012-2013 season, including:

  • 31,600 farmers trained in Good Agricultural Practices and Integrated Pest Management
  • 329 cooperative managers trained in efficient budgeting and cost control systems, administration, documentation and archiving
  • 564,000 seedlings distributed
  • Purchase volume of more than 54,000 metric tons
  • $9.1 million in premiums awarded to farmers and farmer associations

“These results demonstrate how we have been able to improve cocoa yields and quality, as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and their communities,“ says GrowCocoa’s program director, Kevin Wilkins.

As North America’s largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier, Blommer first collaborated with Olam International, the leading global agri-business supplier, in Indonesia in 2004.

The network has quickly grown to more than 15,100 farmers today, after starting with just 2,000 in the beginning.

Between 2006 and 2011, independently verified data showed that many farmers’ yields doubled as they gained direct access to exporters with the establishment of 11 Blommer/Olam upcountry buying centers.

During this period, the partnership expanded to Côte d’Ivoire with the start of the CIFOB (Côte d’Ivoire Farmers Olam & Blommer) program.

Starting with just 6 cooperatives and 2,400 farmers, the network has increased to 87 cooperatives and more than 26,800 farmers in just seven years.

Since inception, the partnership has ensured improved access to healthcare for 29,000 community members. So far, the social infrastructure projects have included two dispensaries, a maternity ward, a medical laboratory, and three schools offering 450 children access to education.

Follow GrowCocoa on Twitter @growcocoa.