Indonesian cocoa farmers who adopted good agricultural practices through Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life program saw average cocoa yields grow by 10 percent in 2016, the confectionery and snack giant announced Tuesday.
The Deerfield, Ill.-based company released its first outcome assessment report for the cocoa sustainability program in Indonesia, where it was launched 2013. Mondelez has also launched Cocoa Life in Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, India, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.
“A sustainable cocoa supply begins with thriving cocoa communities,” said Manu Anand, Mondelez president of chocolate for Asia, Middle East and Africa. “We’re investing in much more than farming — it’s about empowering cocoa communities as a whole, creating resilience, so the cocoa farming villages become places where people want to live. The findings of this first assessment show the success of our holistic approach.”
The assessment, conducted by Ipsos, also found that farmers’ annual incomes grew by 37 percent from 2015 to 2016. Additionally, farmers diversified their income sources and received triple the amount of income from non-cocoa sources. They also reported having an increased focus on financial management through bank accounts, improved access to loans  and less food hardship.
In addition, 26 percent more community projects were reported from action plans created via Cocoa Life.
By the end of 2016, the program was operating in more than 132 Indonesian communities and training more than 16,100 farmers in agricultural and business skills to help improve cocoa yields, protect the environment and boost farmer incomes. By 2022, the program plans to train more than 40,000 farmers in Indonesia, and, in turn, benefit about 400 local communities, promoting women’s empowerment and education for children.
“I am very encouraged by this first outcome assessment by Cocoa Life and the outcomes of this report for Indonesia,” said David W. McLaughlin, Cocoa Life strategic advisor and v.p. of markets and food, World Wildlife Fund. “It shows the innovative approach Mondelēz International is taking for its impact framework, which is working. The statistical methodology used has great potential to best understand the impact of Cocoa Life’s approach to build a more sustainable cocoa supply chain.”