Cargill has established a licensed buying company in Ghana, allowing the ingredient supplier to directly source cocoa from certified farmers and maintain a traceable purchasing model.
Fully operational since November, Cargill Kokoo Sourcing Ltd. is purchasing beans from 9,000 farmers through the network. Another 14,000 are registered to participate.
While Cargill sources cocoa directly from farmers in other origin countries, implementing this model in Ghana allows the company to continue to fulfill the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company’s commitment to making progress toward a transparent global cocoa supply chain, better incomes and living standards for farmers and their communities, and delivering a sustainable supply of cocoa and chocolate products.
“Having long-standing relations with cocoa farmers and their communities is critical for the full implementation of our sustainability approach, and we now intend to expand our existing sustainability activities to enable farming communities to benefit from training, community and farm development support,” says Lionel Soulard, managing director West Africa Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “Developing our sourcing capabilities in the world’s second largest cocoa producing country is an essential step to meet growing customer demand for sustainable, certified cocoa.”
Farmers deliver their cocoa to community warehouses, where their beans are digitally weighed in front of them and assigned a digital barcode. Details of the beans are recorded in a standardized management system before the beans are taken to central warehouses. Through the barcode system, Cargill can trace each bag of beans to the individual farm, creating a fully traceable supply chain.
Farmers also receive payment from the beans through their phones or e-wallets through partnerships with E-Zwich, MTM mobile money and Tigo Mobil Money. This system provides assurance to the farmers, improves their ability to trade and eliminates the risk of making cash payments.
“Never before has it been more critical for cocoa farmers in Ghana to be the master of their own destiny and improve their own livelihoods,” Soulard says. “With the introduction of an innovative digital payment system, or mobile money for short, this first-of-its kind initiative at scale in Ghana is creating great opportunity for smallholder finance at the farm level.”
Joseph Boahen Aidoo, ceo of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said the agency is pleased to work with Cargill on this project.
“This shows our continued partnership with Cargill goes from strength to strength,” he says. “We see this model as the future of cocoa sourcing in our country.”
Cargill has been buying cocoa in Ghana for more than 40 years. In 2008, the company opened a state-of-the-art cocoa processing facility in Tema along Ghana’s southern coast. More than 400 permanent and contracted employees process cocoa products to serve the food and confectionery industries.