On 7 March, global agribusiness giant Cargill published its second report on the company’s Cocoa Promise.

It said it had introduced a monitoring and evaluation system to improve the effectiveness of its activities, enabling a more evidence-based approach to help raise the living standards of farmers and their families, as well as to address the sustainability challenges in the cocoa supply chain.

“In 2015, some 90,000 cocoa farmers attended 2,700 farmer field schools. This training enables farmers to achieve maximum profitability from their cocoa farms, to optimise production by using inputs, such as crop protection and fertilises efficiently, while reducing their impact on the environment. Through applying better plant protection, a 23% average yield improvement could be achieved for farmers.”

Cargill said a major part of its work was focused on women’s empowerment, child protection and family nutrition.

“In 2015, more than 2,000 women successfully accessed credit to support income-generating activities, which is over 50% of the total number of people who received finance through the village saving and loan associations set up with Cargill’s support.”

In addition, 97% of children enrolled in Cargill’s programme in Ghana had stayed in school for at least five years.

“The ‘let’s produce more’ approach is shifting to a more nuanced alternative. We’re looking to increase profitability of the farm, by increasing productivity in a cost efficient manner,” says Taco Terheijden, director of cocoa sustainability at Cargill. “That’s why we have evolved the way we deliver the programme and measure its impact. We will continue to extend its scope and reach, bringing more benefits to farmers, families and cocoa communities.”

Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business operates 27 plants in 11 countries, supplying the food industry with cocoa powders, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. Its processing plants are located in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, the Netherlands, UK and the USA. It also has its own cocoa bean sourcing operations to buy and export cocoa from Brazil, Cameron, Cote d’Ivoire and Indonesia.

In 2015, Cargill bought ADM’s global chocolate business for US$440M.