Fairtrade Cocoa Goes Pacific

Club 3000 farmers at a recent workshop.

Cocoa beans drying in Papua New Guinea. (Photos by Monpi Cocoa Exports).

30 May 2014

Congratulations to cocoa farmers in Papua New Guinea who have become the first Fairtrade certified cocoa organization selling into a Pacific regional supply chain, with their first shipment of Fairtrade cocoa beans soon making its way to Australian shores.

Club 3000, a group of 629 cocoa farmers in Madang Province, have benefitted from a change to the Fairtrade Standard for Contract Production, which was extended to cocoa growers in Oceania in late 2012. Now, smallholder cocoa farmers who are organized into non-formal structures are able to participate in Fairtrade if they have a partnership with a support organization that is able and willing to assist them to work together, improve their business and farming skills, and become an independent producer organization over time.

The Club 3000 farmers are spread over 275 kilometres and six remote communities in the central coastline province, where reaching schools and aid posts takes half a day on foot, and access to clean drinking water is a 30 minute trek through mountainous terrain. Despite these challenges, Club 3000 farmers have a passion for growing cocoa. Thanks to their partnership with Monpi Cocoa Exports of Madang, who founded the group in 2011, they are improving their quality and productivity, learning better business skills, and are now able to sell their cocoa to the international Fairtrade market. Club 3000’s inaugural shipment of Fairtrade cocoa is bound for Australia this month, to be used for Cadbury Dairy Milk across Australia and New Zealand.

The farmers plan to produce 120 metric tonnes of Fairtrade certified cocoa in 2014, which will generate US $24,000 in Fairtrade Premium to be used for social and business development projects to benefit the farmers, their families and their communities. Initial plans include restocking abandoned aid posts with medical supplies, and building and furnishing local elementary schools.

“Being a Club 3000 member has enabled me to improve my productivity and income through best farm management practices and access to farm inputs,” said Wesley Wago, a cocoa farmer from Bandi village in Madang province. “I have also learned new things like cash management. Now that we are Fairtrade certified, I will have a steady income which I plan to use to build a new house and also pay school fees for my children. With the Fairtrade Premium, we plan to build village cocoa nurseries and improve our community water supply.”

Club 3000 has a long-term capacity building partnership with Fairtrade, with support through the New Zealand Aid Programme, and an initial one year contribution from Mondelez. This project provides an agricultural subsidy program for Club 3000 members, as well as trainings on business skills, recordkeeping, and farm management, to ensure that Club 3000 is built on a strong foundation for long-term success.

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