Last November, after finding out that Farmforce had helped some of their members source nearly 200,000 metric tons of sustainable cocoa, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) was more than happy to welcome us into their community. It definitely helped that WCF members like Cargill or GCB Cocoa had already recognised the top-class standards of our advanced traceability solutions. But we care about being an active member. This is why we’ll be in Brussels on October 26-27, right at the peak of the harvesting season, to take part in the WCF’s 2022 Partnership Meeting. Throughout this leading event, covering the most pressing issues and the latest innovations in sustainable cocoa farming, we’ll be brainstorming with producers and other stakeholders from each segment of the value chain.
A New Anti-deforestation Tech
When talking about sustainability and traceability in agriculture, deforestation is currently one of the top supply chain issues for cocoa and will be a trending topic during the conference. Even more so now that the European Parliament voted to pass a stricter version of the law initially drafted by the European Commission, restricting European market access to cocoa that can be verified as deforestation-free. As first mile experts, Farmforce is on the front line of tackling this sustainability and compliance challenge and has already developed an Integrated Deforestation Monitoring solution. Coop managers can easily verify whether their cocoa farmers’ fields have any historical forest cover loss by mapping fields with their electronic devices. This package of features, traceability and integrated deforestation monitoring, will allow coops to show exporters that their cocoa doesn’t come from deforested land.
On top of that, collecting feedback from several WCF members and other first mile stakeholders, we’ve been fine-tuning our deforestation monitoring solution. Designed with multinational corporations (MNCs) due diligence in mind, our Enterprise features are designed with the EU regulatory framework in mind. Thanks to this smart addition, which will be released by the end of this year, MNCs can check thousands of cocoa plots for deforestation monitoring compliance at a time. Doing so, we’ll let exporters future-proof their revenues from the sale of cocoa-based products in Europe while safeguarding farmers’ livelihood.
Meeting a First Mile Traceability Champion
But we won’t be the only ones putting a spotlight on the first mile of the cocoa beans supply chain. Mr Ousmane Traoré, the Chairman of the Board of the cocoa cooperative Ecakoog, was invited by the WCF as a speaker. By harnessing our food tech as part of our Fairtrade pilot phase in Côte d’Ivoire, Ecakoog became a cocoa traceability champion. While being aware that production traceability has a cost, Mr Traoré recognised that having a first mile tracking tool such as Farmforce could supercharge his business growth. And he put that intuition into practice. Since investing in Farmforce, Ecakoog substantially increases the number of cocoa producers he is working with. Our advanced traceability solutions played a key role in achieving this outstanding result. In fact, when implementing agroforestry, which Mr Traoré is deeply keen on, Ecakoog could track farmers’ yields and prove their increase. This undeniable success gained him the recognition of local producers and international buyers. Mr Traoré cooperative has grown so much that it will be the first one at testing out our Enterprise deforestation tracking feature.
Curbing cocoa-driven deforestation is no longer table talk for the EU. Although this is good news for the environment, it will require all actors involved in the cocoa value chain to implement extra efforts to comply with the more stringent regulations. That’s why Farmforce has brought up a tangible solution to the WCF table that will enable both coops and MNCs to continue their business as usual.
Aside from making cocoa forest-friendly, we have other ambitious projects in the pipeline and the participation in the WCF event is giving us other things to look forward to in the short, medium and long term. First, we’ll reconnect with our existing customers and perhaps meet new ones. Besides fostering business opportunities, we also want to enrich our knowledge by catching up on any recent developments in the cocoa arena so that we can maximise our positive impact.