Barry Callebaut's Cocoa Horizons Foundation and Belgian chocolate maker Kim's Chocolates have teamed up, combining sustainability efforts in Tanzania.

In a recent ceremony in the Kyela district of Tanzania, the project partners distributed 130,000 cocoa seedlings to 240 cocoa farmers and donated six new classrooms to the local farming communities.

This is a special project funded by Kim's Chocolates and implemented by the Barry Callebaut Group. The ceremony represented the first step toward the distribution of more than 100,000 cocoa seedlings annually.

 “We are very proud of this program with Kim’s Chocolates, which is a proof point of the great work that Barry Callebaut delivers for its customers and partners,” says Anke Massart, business development manager for Sustainable Cocoa, Barry Callebaut. “Via the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, we continue to scale impact and drive change to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities, with the support of the local government and communities, and in close partnership with our customers.”

In Tanzania, Barry Callebaut's direct sourcing and farm services organization, Biolands, will work closely with the farmers to ensure close relationships that will help them more effectively implement sustainability programs.

Part of those programs are the seedlings, given to the farmers to replace their aging trees. More vigorous trees mean a higher yield, which in turn means more income and profitability for the farmers.

The project partners have also established a training program to share technical knowledge and good agricultural practices with local farmers. Over the next three years, 45 best practice demonstration plots will be set up to support the training of 4,500 cocoa farmers.

The partners will also supply tools such as pruning shears and saws to help the farmers implement their knowledge.

But productivity isn't the only thing this project aims to improve – education is also necessary to better farming communities.

To that end, Kim's Chocolates launched its "Cocoa for Schools" program with the six new classrooms, located in Lubele and Lubaga, near Kyela. The classrooms will benefit close to 1,000 children.

 “This is not a feel-good action. It’s an initiative that will make a substantial difference to the farming community” says Fons Maex, ceo, Kim’s Chocolates. “Kim’s Chocolates aims to finish 130 classrooms and renovate 50, with many more to come in the long term. This will be done in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations, customers, the local industry and the villagers themselves. By working both on education and on productivity, we are acting on two crucial levers to combat poverty among cocoa farmers.”