The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new project to promote sustainable cocoa and coffee production in Indonesia with The Hershey Company, Rikolto, the Indonesian government, and PT. Olam Indonesia - part of olam food ingredients (ofi).

From heavy rains and rising temperatures, climate change is one of the biggest threats to the future of coffee and chocolate. In Indonesia, many smallholders who grow these crops struggle to access the proper support to adapt to the conditions and protect their livelihoods.

The Landscape Approach to Sustainable and Climate Change Resilient Cocoa and Coffee Agroforestry (LASCARCOCO) project is a joint investment from the partners of $8.2M that will aim to assist 6,500 cocoa and coffee farmers in increasing their yields by 25% while conserving 14,000 hectares of the watershed and riparian buffers by 2025.

It is one of six existing projects and USD50 million of investment that USAID, ofi, and other partners are jointly implementing to help farmers be responsible stewards of their environment.

To achieve its aims, the LASCARCOCO project will work towards:

  • Improving sustainable livelihoods through training on Good Agricultural Practices and climate-smart agroforestry, where cocoa and coffee are grown alongside other income-generating crops.
  • Promoting climate-friendly landscape management to enhance smallholders' and local communities' awareness, capacity, and involvement in climate change adaptation.
  • Creating transparent and traceable supply chains with all farmers registered on ofi's OFIS app, providing complete visibility of the environmental and social credentials of the cocoa and coffee from the project.
  • Building an evidence-based blueprint for scaling up agroforestry techniques.

"Smallholders are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Without the right resources and inputs, they can't grow enough to earn a living, and the world could face a shortage of the coffee and chocolate we all love," says Ravi Pokhriyal, president and regional head – Asia, at ofi.

He continued, “This new partnership demonstrates how the private and public sectors can unite to address these dual challenges. And it’s an example of how ofi is living its purpose to Be the Change for Good Food and a Healthy Future under its Cocoa Compass and Coffee Lens sustainability strategies. For nearly two decades, we’ve collaborated with our customers and partners to deliver positive impact across the value chain in Indonesia, from supporting over 80,000 cocoa and coffee farmers in our programs to co-creating on-trend products consumers in APAC will love from our processing facility in Indonesia and Singapore Customer Solutions Center. And now, we’re excited to bring our presence on the ground, end-to-end expertise, and digital tools to the LASCARCOCO project.” 

“USAID supports Indonesia’s efforts to balance economic growth and conservation,” said USAID Indonesia Mission Director Jeff Cohen.  “This new partnership will encourage cocoa and coffee farmers to adopt sustainable agroforestry practices that increase forest cover and diversify their crops, strengthening their ability to adapt to climate shocks.”