8 Jun 2016

Boost for Cocoa and Sugar Farmers as Ferrero Increases its Fairtrade Commitment

Italian confectionery company Ferrero will double the amount of cocoa it purchases from Fairtrade farmers – to 40,000 metric tonnes over the next three years. Ferrero also announced a new collaboration with Fairtrade on cane sugar, with plans to source 20,000 metric tonnes of Fairtrade cane sugar between mid-2016 and 2019.

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"With the agricultural training offered by the cooperative I was able to almost double my cocoa production," says Dembele, a member of the Ecojad cooperative, Cote D'Ivoire.
Image © Nabil Zorkot

"Ferrero’s long-term commitment means cocoa farmers in Cote D’Ivoire and sugar farmers in countries such as Costa Rica are going to benefit from secured sales and the additional Fairtrade Premium." said Marina Vanin, Global Cocoa Director at Fairtrade International. "Research has shown that Fairtrade farmers benefit the most when they can sell a significant percentage of their crops on Fairtrade terms."

Sustainable cocoa and sugar supply chains with Fairtrade
Ferrero’s collaboration with Fairtrade began in 2014. "The Fairtrade cocoa program is a key component of reaching our objective of 100 percent certified sustainable cocoa by 2020", says Aldo Cristiano, who is responsible for Ferrero’s sustainability programs. "We also pursue the same objective for cane sugar, and our experience from the collaboration over the last few years shows that we have found a good partner in Fairtrade."

The Fairtrade Sourcing Programs enable cocoa, sugar and cotton farmers to sell more of their crops on Fairtrade terms, meaning more benefits for them and their communities. Through the Programs, farmers can sell their crops to the growing number of companies that are committed to sourcing a key commodity fairly and sustainably, to use across product ranges or even their whole business. Farmers benefit from all the same Fairtrade Standards.

"Long-term partnerships with companies such as Ferrero enable small-scale farmers to plan for their future. This kind of stability is an important factor in driving sustainable development," said Marina Vanin. "Farmers need access to market information and technical knowledge to ensure long-lasting, sustainable supply chains". Training and programmes tailored to local needs are a key part of Fairtrade’s strategy to enable small-scale farmer organizations to grow and flourish.

Enhanced training and support programmes for Ivorian cocoa farmers
Ferrero has sourced cocoa from Fairtrade cooperatives in Cote D’Ivoire since 2014, making it possible for them to sell a substantially higher proportion of their crops on Fairtrade terms. Training on good agricultural practices has helps the cooperative members to increase their productivity and the quality of their cocoa.

Dembele Mamdou, member of the Ivorian cooperative Ecojad, said: "With the agricultural training offered by the cooperative I was able to almost double my cocoa production. I am also working as a secretary in one of the cooperative’s sections. In the future we want to invest our Premium in projects such as schools for our children and drinking water supply in the communities."

Fairtrade also provides cooperatives with inclusive training on gender equality and child rights. Projects to prevent child labour build on the capacity of children and youth to contribute to self-monitoring, managing and tackling child labour within their own lives and farming communities. The impact of Fairtrade, and of Ferrero’s sourcing commitment on cocoa cooperatives is regularly monitored and evaluated, to ensure long-term impact.

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Sugar farmers in countries such as Costa Rica are going to benefit from secured sales and the additional Fairtrade Premium. In this picture: Elian is a small-scale sugar producer with the COOPECAÑERA cooperative, Costa Rica.
Image © James Rodriguez

Fairtrade sugar farmers – investing in strong cooperatives
More than 62,000 small-scale farmers across 19 countries produce Fairtrade certified sugar, in regions such as Central America, Southern Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Sugar farmers received 10.2 million euros of Fairtrade Premium globally in 2014, money which they can reinvest in organizational infrastructure, training, improvements in productivity or good agricultural practices.

Fairtrade supports networking and collaboration between small-scale sugar farmers within and across continents, recognizing that they often face the same challenges. Long-term commitments of confectionary brands such as Ferrero enable sugar farmers to strengthen their position in a highly volatile market, especially now as policy changes are severely impacting imports of sugar to Europe putting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers in developing countries at risk.