B4B chocolate manufacturer Luker Chocolate is expanding its collaborative sustainability plan, The Chocolate Dream, into South Bolívar, a remote cocoa-producing region in Colombia. This is now the sixth region the chocolate manufacturer has moved its sustainability work into in order to help cocoa growing communities. The expansion is starting with one of the major projects of The Chocolate Dream, called Masters of Cocoa.
Though this region has historically struggled with violence, illicit crops, and illegal mining, Luker and its project partner, Aprocasur, hope to help local farmers implement strategies to ensure a prosperous and legitimate future through cocoa. This initiative also aligns with Luker’s 2027 targets to boost the income of 1,500 producers by 20%, enhance the welfare of 5,000 families, and protect 5,000 hectares of land.
Masters of Cocoa is set to reach 380 producers in the South Bolívar region, empowering them to implement sustainable farming practices that will improve their productivity and income, whilst protecting their environment. Participants in the program will put sustainable farming methods, such as agroforestry systems, into practice, implement a system to document their progress, and earn points for every challenge completed. At the end of the project, the points may be exchanged for rewards such as tools, livestock, and groceries. Last year, 457 participating producers received rewards and recognition for their efforts to grow and cultivate cocoa more sustainably.
Julia Inés Ocampo, sustainability director at Luker Chocolate said, “At Luker, we aim to go beyond sustainability. Since our founding in 1906, our mission has always been to meaningfully contribute to the sustainable development of communities in Colombia. The Chocolate Dream is how we’ve brought this mission to life.”
“We are proud to see The Chocolate Dream expand into its sixth region, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our employees and partners. Our intention is to keep expanding and introducing additional projects to the region, generating positive outcomes for producers, their families, and communities. The projects funded by The Chocolate Dream have had an overwhelming positive impact on cocoa-growing regions nationwide, and we know the Masters of Cocoa project will help improve cocoa production and wellbeing in South Bolívar like it has for so many others.”
Orley Foronda, manager of Aprocasur, Luker’s partner on the project, said, “Together, we're putting our hearts and souls into this collaborative endeavour. With Luker Chocolate, we’re supporting the Masters of Cocoa project, fuelling the passion of producers to persist in exceptional agricultural practices, engage in mindful conservation, and elevate the quality of our cocoa to new heights."
Luker Chocolate recently released its 2022 progress report on the impact of The Chocolate Dream projects on the environment, communities and farmer income. In line with its 2027 goals, Luker Chocolate increased the income of 829 farmers by 20% and traced 100% of cocoa in its value chains to associations and regional buyers. In addition, Luker successfully implemented 26 projects though The Chocolate Dream, benefiting children and youth through educational programs and skill development, in turn improving the quality of life of 3,084 families.
To find out more about The Chocolate Dream, visit lukerchocolate.com/en/beyond-sustainability.