Cocoa Life COVID-19 Aid Relief

Cocoa Life COVID-19 Aid Relief

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought on significant losses to cocoa farmers. The rising cost of goods coupled with lockdowns and movement restrictions has adversely affected the rural economy of cocoa farming communities.

Together, Barry Callebaut and Mondelēz International’s cocoa sustainability program Cocoa Life have decided to support cocoa farming communities. In a joint initiative, health care products were distributed as a first response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continued, Barry Callebaut and Mondelēz International decided to further help the farmers by distributing food relief aid for staple food and following with cocoa seedling distribution to encourage farmers to conduct replanting.

The food relief aid project was targeted towards Cocoa Life registered farmers in Soppeng, South Sulawesi. Barry Callebaut and Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life distributed rice, cooking oil and sugar for 3,096 farmers who are registered with the Cocoa Life program in Soppeng. The Barry Callebaut team started the procurement process in September 2020, and by mid-October 2020, the relief aid packages arrived. In parallel, Barry Callebaut’s implementation team also started the socialization and distribution of the aid vouchers to farmers.

Socialization of Mondelēz International Aid Program to lead Cocoa Life registered farmers in mid of October 2020. (Cocoa Life)

The Barry Callebaut implementation team, involving 11 supply chain actors in Soppeng, started the distribution on Oct. 19, 2020. The aid relief distribution was handed directly to the farmers under the supervision of the implementation team. Following that, on Oct. 27, 2020, an aid distribution ceremony in Soppeng was held with Mondelez International’s Cocoa Life program and local government representatives attending safely. Finally, the aid relief program for farmers concluded on Nov. 3, 2020.

Mondelēz International-Barry Callebaut joint Aid Program Ceremony in Soppeng, on Oct 27th, 2020. (Cocoa Life)

Barry Callebaut and Mondelēz International’s Cocoa Life program are also working together to provide high quality planting material to farmers in South Sulawesi. As of 2020, there are 14 active nurseries with a total capacity of 400,000 seedlings in four different districts (Enrekang, Luwu, Pinrang, and Soppeng). Unfortunately, it takes time to convince the farmers to adopt the replanting idea as the government usually gives free cocoa seedlings to farmers which makes them reluctant to buy cocoa seedlings. Therefore, it is a big challenge for our nursery operators to find buyers for their cocoa seedlings.