Digitalising the cocoa process
“The application at origin is really key in terms of maintaining a comprehensive supplier database, documenting programme activities, and tracking purchases and sales,” Elizabeth Levitz, Cocoa Sustainability Manager at GCB Cocoa, said.
GCB Cocoa has already used our food tech in Cote d’Ivoire, where they directly implement sustainability programs. As it stands, GCB Cocoa deployed our sustainable food supply chain management Software as a Service (SaaS) across 11 cooperatives, covering nearly 6,000 smallholder farmers altogether.
Inspired by their customers’ eco-friendly sweet tooth, GCB Cocoa’s initial main goal was to prove that cocoa producers in their direct sourcing network were not linked to deforestation. This called for a cocoa production traceability booster at the farm level, which is where Farmforce’s field mapping came in handy. Yet, the Farmforce benefits reaped by GCB Cocoa went beyond tracing each bag of cocoa back to the farmer:
“This is so much more than just digital traceability. I think we forget about program effectiveness and impact. That’s another key added value of the system which we have yet to tap into that I’m really excited about,” Elizabeth said.
While Farmforce implementation was generally smooth for GCB Cocoa, there was a minor hiccup to solve. Some of the information embedded into the cocoa bag’s barcodes were added in a different format or not included at all in our database. However, our on-the-ground team easily adapted our farm data software to fit the company inputs. Aside from sorting out technicalities, Farmforce’s seamless support was crucial to helping GCB Cocoa fulfill further needs. For instance, our on-site presence gave rise to joint training sessions and visits to coops. Furthermore, Farmforce’s operations team in Cote d’Ivoire enabled us to provide other customers in neighboring countries with a more localised response.
GCB Cocoa’s main purpose was to digitise farms to streamline their record tracking. As previously mentioned, GCB Cocoa went beyond farm-to-fork traceability when using Farmforce in Cote d’Ivoire. Digging into our AgTech solutions, they utilised many other functionalities:
To begin with, GCB Cocoa had to invest a lot of time in training coops’ staff on Farmforce. And that’s because most of the users had no previous experience in handling any kind of digital tool. Also, supported by Farmforce on-the-ground staff, they’re now running regular training and refresher sessions for coops’ personnel. This joint effort is maximising engagement at the coop level. On top of that, the company set up a dedicated hotline to provide coops with constant and prompt assistance.
Although GCB Cocoa has already achieved significant progress since they deployed Farmforce, they are eager to walk the extra food’s first mile. Farmforce and GCB Cocoa are in regular discussions to further improve the running software and on-the-ground efforts to meet such needs.
GCB Cocoa remains eager to further the rapid expansion of its sustainability operations across the world. The company is forecasting nearly double the number of cocoa producers managed through Farmforce by 2023. They are also exploring direct sustainability programming in other origins, where Farmforce may play a key role as a sustainability enabler.
At Farmforce, food’s first mile is our passion. Our SaaS solutions provide organizations with the confidence to secure sustainable sourcing, improve farmers’ quality of life and protect the environment. We turn data into tools, which means more vetted acres, more measurable impact on communities, more financial opportunities for farmers, and more clarity for customers. We believe in building a better food supply where it starts. Farmforce customers span 28 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. With over nine years of experience now managing over 735,000+ farmers in 27 crop value chains in 15 languages on our platform. A continuous loop of innovation with our customers in the center of food’s first mile journey.